The Amazing Spiderman (2012)

mp’s rating: 6.8 /10

It’s so hard to rate this movie and to decide if whether I like it or not. Why? Because with all due respect, this film is a ‘remake’.

Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy, and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr Curt Connors, his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.

Written by Nicky Mitchell

So you see, I have a problem here. I love Tobey Maguire’s representation of Spiderman in its first trilogy. I feel Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane is perfect with Peter Parker.

I am already loyal to them.

Of course, I like Emma Stone way more than Kirsten Dunst. Andrew Garfield also plays the role well. But “Spiderman” has just lost its spideyness, for me.

He’s no longer a timid, nerdy boy who fought for survival and love his uncle dearly. He’s a teenager who instantly got the power.

I have always loved Spiderman. It’s one of my favourite superheroes, second after The Dark Night. What I like about Spiderman is that he’s human. And he makes mistakes. He’s vulnerable, and yet takes responsibility and becomes strong. He has humble beginning.

He’s not just a hero. He’s more than that.

With this movie, I didn’t really see all those characters. It’s all about Peter Parker who pities himself of having no parents and be teenager-ish. While it’s good movie, somehow it just wrecks my concept of Spiderman.

You see, I’m loyal to whatever that’s original. A nuisance, but true.

The effects and graphics are quite good, and it’s definitely one of those blockbuster movies. So go to the cinema and tell me what you think.

 

The Flowers of War (2011)

mp’s rating: 8.2/10
plot: 8.5
acting: 8
effects: 8

Having been a fan of war movies for as long as I can remember, The Flowers of War is an impeccable story, full of brutality that scars whoever who watches it, yet hopeful enough to remind us the things worth fighting for. If not forever, at least, people would remember that for the two hours of the movie.

In 1937 China, during the second Sino-Japanese war, a mortician, John (Christian Bale) arrives at a Catholic church in Nanjing to prepare a priest for burial. Upon arrival he finds himself the lone adult among a group of convent girl students and prostitutes from a nearby brothel. When he finds himself in the unwanted position of protector of both groups from the horrors of the invading Japanese army, he discovers the meaning of sacrifice and honor. Written by msmith5484

“I want to make you a promise,” John (Christian Bale) said to one of the prostitutes. First captured by her beauty, and later by her warm heart, John looked at her earnestly.

“When this war’s all over. I’ll come find you. I’ll bring you home,” he said.

The prostitute, named Yu Mo, forced a smile. “After tonight, my body is not mine anymore,” she let down a tear. “Bring me home today.”

(The quotes might not be the exact words said, as it is written from my memory.)

The Flowers of War is cruel, brutal, and yet beautiful. Your heart would cry. Bleed. When children see pain that’s reserved for a lifetime. When one readies to die not for one’s country, but for another life. When she smiled while supposed to cry. When seeing what one can do for love, honour, and dignity…

If I did not think on how I would look if my make up is smudged, I would have cried a river. Spending half of the movie biting your lips and holding on your tears was not an easy feat.

And let there be no more war.

“We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces. The first bomb, the first explosion, burst in our hearts. We are cut off from activity, from striving, from progress. We believe in such things no longer, we believe in the war.”

All Quiet On The Western Front, Ch. 5 by Erich Maria Remarque

Harry Potter: The Exhibition Singapore 2012 (review)

Die-hard Harry Potter fans may tragically undergo magic withdrawal syndrome this year, but apparently Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.’s offer to feature the props in the movies is quite a disappointment.

Before entering the Harry Potter Exhibition at ArtScience Museum. Photo by Tjokro Aminoto

From now until 30 September 2012, ArtScience Museum located in Marina Bay Sands complex, Singapore hosts the exhibition as a pioneer among its Asian neighbours.

The exhibition features the “artifacts in settings inspired by the film sets”, as if allowing the audience to go on “a journey through the famous wizard’s world and experience first-hand all the wonders of Hogwarts™ such as the Gryffindor™ common room, Hagrid’s hut, and the Great Hall.”

It also offers the opporunity to “pull a Mandrake from its pot, toss a Quaffle in the Quidditch™ area, and encounter centaurs, Buckbeak™ the Hippogriff and a giant Acromantula spider in the Forbidden Forest.”

Yet as a die-hard fan, the exhibition was disappointing.

Purchasing the tickets (SG$24 for adult tourists, SG$20 for Singaporeans), I was hoping to fill the gap JK Rowling has made by finishing the series. Yet as I walked through the relatively small exhibit, I was taken aback by the injustice that the exhibition has done to Harry Potter.

Writings on the floor right outside the gate of exhibition. Photo by Tjokro Aminoto

Entering the exhibition, we saw the Weasley’s flying car right above our head. We were then greeted by a crew member who was holding the sorting hat, and a couple of volunteers were chosen to see where they belong in the iconic Hogwart’s houses. After the mini introduction, rules, and regulation (no photography or videography of any sorts), we entered another room and watched some clips from the eight movies to refresh our memories on who Harry Potter is.

The Weasley’s flying car at Harry Potter Exhibition. Photo by Tjokro Aminoto

The next set: Hogwarts Express. We saw the train in black and red, complete with its smoked-ejecting chimney and familiar Harry Potter soundtrack. So far, the exhibition has succeeded to make the visitors excited.

We entered ‘Hogwarts’. There were some pictures hung on the wall, on which only one out of five was moving. There was the iconic fat lady who sang a high-tone pitch in order to break the glass, a scene that we watched in the third movie. There was Griffindor’s common room: Harry’s bunk with the real robes and casual clothes that he wears, as well as Ron’s.

Clothes were the main props of the exhibit – I still have no idea why they think the fans would be excited to see the real pink jacket that Hermione wore in the third movie. Or Cornelius Fudge’s clothes. Or Umbridge’s. Frankly, I wasn’t that interested to see the ‘real’ clothes that they wore.

Enter the next set, and we could see Madame Sprout’s garden, Professor Trelawney’s classroom complete with the Harry Potter’s tea cup having “the grim”, Gilderoy Lockhart’s motionless photographs and books, Professor Lupin’s Jack-in-the-box boggart, Professor Snape and Slughorn’s potions, and Umbridge’s pink office – complete with the cats on the plates that (disappointingly) did not move. Each set was of two meters length.

We were then able to pull out a motion-less Mandrake from its pot, followed by not-really-disturbing cry. There was a Quidditch-ish set on which we could toss a Quaffle. To the left there was a weird-looking Buckbeak not on its finest days.

Entering Hagrid’s hut, there was an oversized cloth that Hagrid wore, with the pot and a cracked dragon’s egg. In the next set we saw the not-so-real-looking Centaurus, Horntail’s head that looks really unreal, very fake-looking acromantula, and a baby thestral.

Next, we arrived at the dark forces section, where Dementor, which was pictured with white skeletons covered with black clothings, and the Death Angel in the graveyard (featured in the fourth movie) were present. There were not-quite-broken flying key (unlike the broken half-wing in the first movie), the Wizard Chess replica (which was quite cool), and a spot featuring all Voldemort’s horcruxes. Sadly, the horcruxes are not as grandeur as I’d like them to be.

We walked to the Great Hall, on which there were flying candles. There were the Triwizard cup, Dobby and Fawkes’s replicas, and the Godric Griffindor’s sword. We saw the Deathly Hallows – the Cloak of Invisibility, the Resurrection stone, and the Elder’s wand.

The eight movie posters at Harry Potter Exhibition. Photo by Tjokro Aminoto

As we entered the souvenir’s shop, I was taken aback by the price tags. It was a total ripoff as everything becomes triple the price from the original’s. Plus, the quality of the goods are half as good as what have been sold in Universal Studio Orlando.

There were a lot of TV clips featured from the eight movies, as well as each character’s clothes and wands. However, its lack of attention to details disappointed me.

Of course, my perception on this exhibition is influenced by the fact that I’m a die-hard fan of Harry Potter, and I just went to Universal Studio Orlando – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter which features everything to the last detail. Picture the perfect Hogwarts castle replica, the moving Mandrake with its piercing cry, Moaning Myrtle crying in the public bathroom, Hogsmeade and butterbeer, the flawless moving pictures on Hogwarts wall, the perfect Gargoyle replica outside Dumbledore’s office, the Dementors which presence literally give you goosebumps for suddenly everything went really cold and scary, the moving and talking Sorting Hat, and…

That said, the exhibition was quite good considering the price and the experiences it offers. Yes, it falls way behind my expectation, but overall, I’ll give it a 6.5 out of 10 – not yet a failure.

For more information about the ticket prizes and and general visitor’s information, go to ArtScience Museum website. 

Still googling for more reviews? Read another review on the exhibition by Dejiki Nicholas.

Universal Studio Orlando Gallery (personal photos)

The Hogwarts Express at Universal Studio Orlando

Hogwarts castle at Universal Studio Orlando

Hogsmeade village at Universal Studio Orlando

Drinking Butterbeer

The Sorting Hat

The Gargoyle outside Dumbledore’s office

The moving and crying Mandrake

The Harry Potter merchandise – Griffindor robe and scarf, and the broomstick

Brave (2012)

mp’s rating: 8/10
plot: 8
acting: 8
effects: 8

Seriously, IMDB? 7.8 rating? Seriously, Rotten Tomatoes? 76 per cent? Well, high-five! I gave it a solid 8!

Set in Scotland in a rugged and mythical time, “Brave” features Merida, an aspiring archer and impetuous daughter of royalty. Merida makes a reckless choice that unleashes unintended peril and forces her to spring into action to set things right. Written by Walt Disney Pictures

I came to watch Brave with a lot of expectation, and once again, Disney has done it!

Great, unexpected plot, which features a love-hate relationship between Merida and her mother, is brilliantly done. While it’s equipped with a little bit of humour, it has managed to capture the most important thing – love between family.

Considering the producer has done movies that always say something meaningful – for example movies about father-son relationship (Finding Nemo), adventures after loved one dies (Up), and friendship and global warming (Wall-E), Brave is a wonderful addition towards his collection.

If you haven’t watched it, sprint to the nearest cinema, spare two hours, bring along some tissues, and watch this movie. Watch it with your Mom, if you can!

Ps. My Mom cried watching this movie. It’s that good. She rarely (or almost never) cried while watching a movie.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (2012)

Mp’s rating: (barely) 6/10
Plot: 5
Effects: 7

Seriously, IMDB? 7.2 rating? Seriously, Rotten Tomatoes? 76 per cent? I barely scored a pass for this one.

Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are still trying to get back to the Big Apple and their beloved Central Park zoo, but first they need to find the penguins. When they travel to Monte Carlo, they attract the attention of Animal Control after gate crashing a party and are joined by the penguins, King Julian and Co., and the monkeys. How do a lion, zebra, hippo, giraffe, four penguins, two monkeys, three lemurs travel through Europe without attracting attention and get back to New York? They join a traveling circus. Their attempts to get back to New York are consistently hampered by the Captain of Animal Control who wants to make Alex part of her collection. Once they make it back to New York Marty, Alex, Gloria and Melman realize that they want to be part of the traveling circus.

by Anonymous

The movie should be funny, and on some occasions it did succeed to be funny, and yet a lot of times it overdid it.

While anticipating another witty, hilarious movie, I was given raw in some, overcooked in the other parts. It was unreal. It had too much colour and sound effects that instead of complimenting my watching experience, it shut down my excitement.

The plot was half-baked. I didn’t see enough conflict, didn’t witness enough story. Just. too. unreal. to. be. true.

The effects, although cool at first, gave me headaches. During one scene I even closed my eyes because I couldn’t stand the absurdity of the comedy.

Nevertheless, I know some people who would actually love this movie. It’s just not my cup of tea.

In sum, the movie’s quite okay for entertainment and watching-another-Madagascar-movie-sake, if there’s no other movie to watch. Going to watch Brave (2012) this weekend. Stay tuned for more reviews!

Man on a Ledge (2012)

Mp’s rating: 7.2/10
Plot: 7.5
Acting: 7.5
Effects: 7

An ex-cop turned con threatens to jump to his death from a Manhattan hotel rooftop. The nearest New York Police officer immediately responds to a screaming woman and calls dispatch. More Officers arrive with SWAT and tactical command along with fire-fighters. The police then dispatches a female police psychologist personally requested to talk him down from the ledge. However, things aren’t as straightforward and clearcut as they appear to be.

by unknown.

Brilliant. Great plot, great action, great twist. In sum? Great movie.

Watching Man on a Ledge feels like watching Source Code all over again. Not as good as the latter, but still, it was still a fantastic watch. It’s been quite some time since I last watched a great movie.

While presenting the usual type of action movie – cops, deceptions, and uncovered truths, this movie is also equipped with some twisted plots – the one that leaves you guessing.

Sam Worthington is flawless in his acting. Definitely makes it to my anticipated-actors list.

Watch it. You won’t be sorry.

Prometheus (2012)

Rating

Acting: 6.5/10
Effect: 8/10
Plot: 4/10

Overall rating: 5/10 (just because for me the plot of a movie affects 75% of its quality)

IMDB lied. As well as Rotten Tomatoes. At least to me they did.

The last time I checked, Prometheus was given a 7.9 IMDB rating and  75% Tomatometer. And for an action / science fiction movie, that was quite high. Especially from Rotten Tomatoes, as it did not easily give a good rating towards an action movie. Only a movie with a class like Avatar would get one.

At first I didn’t want to watch this movie. I never did like alien wars anyway, or something like that. Avatar is an exception, of course. But not something like aliens vs predators vs monsters vs zombies vs draculas.

But then I heard a second lie: Prometheus was the most anticipated movie of the year (heard it from the TV). So I might as well check it out.

I was terribly disappointed.

Of course, the effects were flawless. You know – the ships, the fightings, the aliens – all looked real.

But the story sucks (spoilers alert).

The movie was centered around two scientists that have found the same stars combination throughout the history – Egypt, Mesopotamia, Babylon – all ancient civilisations that had no contact with each other and differed thousands of years apart.

They concluded that the stars combination must have meant something.

Someone said it was a star map. The scientists believed it was an invitation.

Of course, when I watched the trailer I was hoping to get some answers from the movie.Why was it an invitation? Why would a star map become read as though it was an invitation?

The scientists then found out the stars coordinates matched one galaxy which planet was much like Earth – there was sun; there was the perfect atmosphere where living conditions were sustained. A ship, called Prometheus, named after an abandoned Greek god, went on a voyage to find the answers.

Sadly, I never know why the scientists believed that it was an invitation. I think that they think that the aliens – so-called the Engineers (because humans believed that these aliens engineered humans), left their star map location for the humans to find them. Or something like that.

The story went on, and you could have guessed it – they weren’t supposed to be there, the aliens were the bad guys, not the good guys, or something like that. In fact, all these aliens were dead – all except one (more spoilers on that later). When the scientists took some tests they found that our DNA was exactly the same as theirs, which brought the conclusion – these aliens were indeed our engineers.

One by one the crew members were killed, and the sole alien survivor ended up wanted to kill humans – the very living thing that they have made.

The question was, how? (and why?)

These aliens had made a biological weapon, which grew out of control and tried to kill them all. That was the reason why the aliens were dead when humans came – the weapon they made to destroy Earth had backfired at them.

Theoretically speaking, this movie told us that:

1. There were aliens, who were much like humans, except they were uglier, hairless, stronger, and paler. Even all their faces looked the same. Their creation, a.k.a humans, looked much more beautiful and living in a gorgeous planet that was much much more beautiful than theirs. If I would have to guess why they wanted to kill their creations, it would be because of jealousy. These aliens traveled to Earth billions of years ago and engineered humans.

2. They left their star map location to the first humans (ancient civilisation) for whatever reason that we didn’t know. The scientists deciphered it as an invitation to visit their alien planet.

3. These same aliens who made humans, however, regretted their decision, and built a biological weapon to destroy the human race.

4. Ironically, their own entire race was killed by this biological weapon – only one survived because he was in a deep sleep.

5. Humans went on a voyage to the alien planet, found death, felt disappointed that their makers wanted to hit the reset button, and tried to kill their maker instead.

Because I was not supposed to tell you the ultimate ending, I would not write the number 6.

But seriously, man, the movie left too many unanswered question. And because I’m human, I have that human nature called curiosity to find out things that I do not know. The movie pretty much proposed more questions rather than answering the already-there-questions generated from the trailers. Genius, Scott. Genius.

The movie was quite a good jump-start to pump my adrenaline, but again, I was disappointed. I didn’t really think that it deserved the high rating, knowing that many other great movies didn’t even get close to a 7.9 or 75% rating. I’m guessing that Scott (the director) would make a sequel to this prequel of the Alien series, but I’m also guessing that he would even insert much more questions than he could answer.

Conclusively, if you like science fiction / action / adrenaline-pumping / heavily unreal and weird / outer space movies such as Alien, Snakes on a plane, Underworld Evolution, Resident Evil, or something like that, it’s a movie for you.

If you have some spare time to kill, you might want to see what’s this “most anticipated movie of the year” (I seriously couldn’t believe this statement – what happened to The Dark Night and The Avengers and The Amazing Spiderman?) all about.

If you’re not bothered, then it’s completely okay (and recommended) to miss this one. Just wait for the other blockbuster movies that coming out pretty soon.

Oh, Prometheus is a hate-it-or-love-it type of movie. I think I have made myself clear on where I stand.

Alright, now is a good time to go back to my studies. I have three exams coming soon. Adios!

Ps. The first two minutes of the movie was super weird. A UFO was going away from a planet (either Earth or the alien’s planet, but I’m guessing the latter, perhaps on the way to create a new entire species called humans on Earth). Then there was an alien swallowing a black thingy (I am guessing it was the biological weapon) and killed himself in the process. Truthfully I haven’t figured out the correlation. If you have watched it and you did figure it out, please tell me.