Movie Review: Tomb Raider (2018)

It’s the Holy Week and while many people has gone on vacation, we decided to just watch a movie instead. And as the title suggests, it’s Tomb Raider. Yes, the new version.

Okay, this is one movie that is actually intriguing; you know, it used to be Angelina Jolie in the title role and now we got Swedish actress in Alicia Vikander taking her spot. And so, we just wondered how she would fare — and what kind of story would the creators make out of this transition.

Synopsis. Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished years earlier. Hoping to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance, Croft embarks on a perilous journey to his last-known destination — a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. The stakes couldn’t be higher as Lara must rely on her sharp mind, blind faith and stubborn spirit to venture into the unknown.

Let’s go through some critical action scenes first, and starting with Lara’s sea travel. Well, how computerized can you get? It was just obvious guys. The mix of the rough seas, those rocks and ship, and especially when Lara jettisoned. The river scene was good though and a bit more realistic. Meanwhile, the tomb scene was so-so, altho the falling of the “flooring” where the characters were standing was good. Still, Lara’s clinging to the secret tomb’s “door” was not really an awesome stunt. Yeah, just not that believable.

Clinging on rocks is more believable since it’s less slippery compared to hanging on metal that is not really shaped for holding (and while trying to catch something at that)

Now, the impact of these action scenes were sort of wanting mainly because of the lead character’s physique and aura. Her frame or stance was just not molded for such genre. In short, her aura was a bit soft. Hey, she did not even have impressive fighting skills (to think that she was into boxing in the movie) while her aura just did not convince us of her being a strong-willed heroine.

Does she look a convincing Lara Croft? In character roles, it’s especially important

On the other hand, the villain somewhat failed to project “cleverness” in his role but basically relied on guns and goons to scare those who oppose him. And from the start, it was already predictable that Lara’s father was still alive; and we somehow knew this movie fact because Alicia is not a big-name movie star, so she needs a father character to support the story as she may not be able to carry the movie alone unlike Angelina Jolie. We’re right.

Angelina Jolie may be more sexualized as Lara Croft but her aura had a lot of impact

In all, it’s not so exciting. Yes, it may have earned a lot but that is because of its predecessor in Angelina’s series. Meaning, people just remembers the impact that Angelina gave the character and so, they were interested in seeing the film. Still, good news to fans, clearly, there would be a sequel.

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Movie Review: Red Sparrow (2018)

Here’s another spy film which opened in cinemas just a couple of days ago, Red Sparrow starring Jennifer Lawrence — basically the only internationally recognizable star in this pretty long movie.

Synopsis. Prima ballerina Dominika Egorova faces a bleak and uncertain future after she suffers an injury that ends her career. She soon turns to Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people to use their minds and bodies as weapons. Egorova emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow after completing the sadistic training process. As she comes to terms with her new abilities, Dominika meets a CIA agent who tries to convince her that he is the only person she can trust.

Anyway, I actually found the film quite boring, like, I was still about 15 minutes into the movie and I am already aching to leave — but then, I just had to finish it to at least give an accurate review. Okay, while there were those who applauded Jennifer’s portrayal here, there were those who also felt like Red Sparrow was just a poor version of Marvel’s Black Widow.

Hmm. No wonder it hasn’t broke even yet! See, because all it boasts of is just the seeming nakedness (like, when Dominika was called to strip in her class but was half-covered by some guy) of J-Law that I wonder if plain oglers would even be satisfied. Yes, while spies use their bodies to complete their missions, Jennifer should at least have had some fight scenes here.

Still, what interested us tho was to see Jennifer’s transition to the “thriller” genre, like, how she would effectively portray her role rather than be some mannequin just waiting to strip. And well, we liked her attempt at the Russian accent for one, also how she tried to appear agent-like when everybody knows that she was just casted for her body. However, we do not suggest a sequel to this as in the end, Jennifer does not really suit an ordinary story.

You know, like using filial responsibility to corner a potential subject and the manipulation of those in authority. As for the general public, these only show that the world is just full of users regardless if this was simply a spy protocol. These only show that somehow we are not really the masters of our fate but victims of circumstances. These only show that success only follows those who follow the general consensus, like, if you want to succeed then just go with the flow. Hey, that’s like discouraging creative people!

And this brings us to that one quote in the movie when Ivan told Dominika: “There are no accidents, we create our own fate.” Yet if we really look closer, Dominika’s ballerina accident seemed intentional so as to corner her as she was chosen to become a Sparrow since Dimitri Ustinov liked her a lot.

Hmm.

NEWS: Elsa to have a girlfriend in “Frozen 2”?

If you have not heard of it yet, well, there is talk that Elsa of the blockbuster movie “Frozen” could be having a girlfriend in its sequel that would be shown come November 2019.

And this thought came about when the film’s director Jenn Lee learned that there were lots of conversation about a lesbian story for Elsa in Frozen 2.

Apparently, the LGBTQ community linked this idea of Elsa being a lesbian to its Oscar-winning theme song in “Let It Go” where they say it is some kind of a coming out tune as the lyrics would have it — “The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside. Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried.” And all the way to, “Let it go, let it go — can’t hold it back anymore.. I don’t care what they’re going to say.”

Hmm. Know what, while times have changed, we should not forget that this is still a children’s movie that we are talking about here. Okay, adults may have enjoyed the film as well, then again, “Frozen” was not created with adults in mind — or as its main consideration. Otherwise, how about just stamping at least a PG-13 rating for “Frozen 2” and be strict on implementing it?

We shouldn’t confuse kids — especially in their formative years. Look. Do primary schools teach, more so, promote lesbianism to its pupils? What more churches?! See?? That’s what we’re saying!

Animated movies like “Frozen” should be especially done with children in mind. Yes, with all those values being imparted. And this is not just about “it’s okay to be this or that as long as you’re not harming anyone, but it’s about reinforcing what is first and foremost right in the eyes of our Creator.” If ever, let children just discover who they are as they grow up — and not brainwash them to understand that the world may not be round (??) or something.

Do not soil “children’s” movies just for money nor try to influence and mislead viewers on sensitive issues. Remember, what goes around, comes around.

Review: Justice League (2017)

Well, it’s still showing. Justice League that is. And presumably most DC fans must have watched it already — what with the gathering of six of your favorite superheroes in Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, the Flash and of course, Superman!

But did you know that the movie needs to gross between $600 to 750M just to break even?? As of this writing, it has already made $485M. Could they make it? Sometimes, trailers gives us that sign. So, let’s see.

The Synopsis. Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Prince to face an even greater threat. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to recruit a team to stand against this newly awakened enemy. Despite the formation of an unprecedented league of heroes — Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash — it may be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

Justice League: The Super Friends

Hmm. Sounds like an ordinary superhero movie actually, don’t you think? Like, recruiting those with super powers or talents, meeting resistance then realizing the gravity of the situation before finally agreeing to take part in the fight against world domination by some sick alien or so.

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Aquaman: With his control of the ocean and its creatures, he could be the most interesting superhero for DC

And that perhaps is the first reason why Justice League is below expectations. Save for Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman — the other 3 members are not really known particularly to non-DC diehards. As in if only the producers did not rush its film production, instead, made way for movies that would introduce the 3 ‘new’ superheroes first — independent of each other that is — then there would have been an emotional build up towards this film. Like, imagination would then run wild with excitement just thinking of the super friends’ formation! What more if even Green Lantern was included??

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Newcomers: The Flash (L) and Cyborg (R)

Second. Didn’t Superman just take so long to return? I mean, more than the way he came back to life, like he actually returned to action just when the movie was about to end. As in during the ‘final battle’ already. It’s like the movie tried to kill him off through amnesia. This is not really good since it’s like saying he’s not the beacon of hope that he used to be, instead, made us scratch our heads in the kind of complex plot that resulted. You know, Batman became the lead here but he still needed Superman whom he had huge differences with to beat Steppenwolf and those countless parademons. See, if Superman was really important then they should have given some scenes where Batman and Superman would makeup instead of just calling Lois Lane to help Clark Kent remember who he is. After all, the film is not about the ‘Man of Steel’ alone but of a group of superheroes.

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The Cast: Notice the ‘bearded’ rivals — Batman (Ben Affleck, C) and Superman (Henry Cavill, R)

Oh, enough of that Henry Cavill’s moustache teasing or Ben Affleck’s on-and-off portrayal of Batman. What’s really sort of pitiful though is the role of the Flash. Hey, did they just turn him into some ‘weakling’ just to get the laughs? That’s the third thing. It’s like even before these 3 newbies could make their own mark, they were already misrepresented. Aquaman even feels so comfortable fighting high up in the air?!

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More impactful if Aquaman fought in his territory, the ocean

Okay, while the chemistry between the cast was good, the switching storylines of a thousand years past and the present only confused observers about the production. For one, how could the unified army gather just like that?

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Moral Compass: It’s always good to have Wonder Woman around, she just balances the Xs and Os

Finally, the CGI monster was not really an impressive creation for a $300M budget movie, it’s like he was just all fire. Along with the parademons, they looked like they were just plucked out of a video game. Also, perhaps the timing was just a little bad; coming off Ragnarok, the film’s release just saturated the movie world with superheroes. Ey, if not for Wonder Woman’s charm, this movie would have taken a meltdown.

Movie Review: Noah (2014)

It’s been 3 years already and surely, many of you must have heretofore seen the movie Noah — what with the said Biblical epic almost tripling its box office returns against its budget! Still, it’s too controversial that it needs something like a follow-up, or some kind of reminder to humanity.

Their Synopsis. When God decides that mankind has become too sinful and must be wiped off the Earth, he chooses Noah (Russell Crowe), a pious man, for a great task. Noah must build an ark large enough to hold his wife (Jennifer Connelly), adopted daughter (Emma Watson), sons (Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Leo McHugh Carroll) and their wives — plus breeding pairs of every animal. When the task is completed, Noah and his family witness God’s wrath in the form of an apocalyptic flood.

Well, nothing’s wrong with the synopsis really. It’s what’s in the Bible save for one — there’s no mention of an adopted daughter but wives for each of them. Hence, what’s wrong is that writer, director and producer Darren Aronofsky did not really follow it — instead, he messed up the story! My, there’s just so many errors that this review would end up like a series just for us to tackle them all! And so, we decided to just go through some of the more glaring, otherwise, spiritually ‘endangering’ ones.

Noah’s family — simply erroneous

But before that, if you have read or heard of most of the reviews even during the film’s release, many of them in fact sang praises for the supposed artistry in Aronofsky. Like, he brought to life a timeless tale to fit the modern day.

What? Tale?? Sounds like God should not really be taken seriously that even a ‘modern day’ version could be adapted! Hey, even the Bible says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Heb 13:8) This means, God’s laws of yesterday still applies today and even tomorrow. It has never changed, never will. Else, there would have been 3 books — Old Testament, New Testament and Modern Testament. See? It’s man who only says he’s got a personal relationship with God — but then chooses to go with ‘modern day’ as some alibi to suit his perversion. As Jesus says, woe to you!

The ark design makes sense since there were no modern tools at that time and God only provided measurements to go with the kind of wood to be used

Anyway, the only thing Biblical in this film is the flood! Everything else, wrong. Basically. Read from Genesis chapter 6 and onwards.

  • The Bible did NOT mention that stone watchers or fallen angels helped build the ark. It was just Noah and his family who worked on it.
  • The Bible did NOT mention any violence or of preventing people to enter the ark — tho logic tells us that there could have been wailing during the flood.
  • NO ONE ELSE except Noah’s family along with the pairs of animals entered the ark before the flood. However, as we saw in the film, there was one who did; and even sparked hatred and betrayal between Ham and Noah?!
  • Noah’s family INCLUDES his wife, his 3 sons and their wives. Or 8 in all. In the film, only Noah and Shem had a wife, Ham doesn’t which made him leave the ark to look for one that Noah did not even approve of. Meanwhile, Japeth is not even an adult yet? Wow, look what messing up with the ‘roots’ bring!
  • Tho Methuselah died in the same year as the flood, there is NOTHING in the Bible that says he died during the flood which would have made him like an unbeliever. If so, this explains Methuselah’s supposed witchcraft in the film where he healed the ‘barren’ (??) wife of Shem. Else, he could have been the last believer outside of Noah and his family — where his ‘natural’ death was the final sign before the flood. Do NOT be confused — speculation only.
  • Most of all, Noah was NOT something like an uncaring, ‘mad man’ who even tried to kill his family as he ‘misunderstood’ (??) the command of God.

POSITIVES 

Stone watcher giants — quite misleading

The cast played their roles well while the graphics were okay except for the stone watchers who looked like a joke. Meanwhile, the narration on the fall of Adam and Eve onto the multiplication and division of man through Cain and Seth were adequate. And if only the plot was not taken from the Bible, yes, it was creative; there were twists that it showed the good and dark side of a ‘chosen one’, who’s after all, still human.

NEGATIVES 

Noah, the rebel, and Methuselah

Did Hollywood run out of stories when they thought of filming Noah and so turning it into the ‘Lord of the Rings’? Remember, when it comes to the Bible — NEVER change anything. Do as it says, and if ever you want to insert your creativity — tinker with graphics but NEVER the story.

Your soul — and the souls of weak faith — are at stake here, so do it right.

Movie Review: One Night with the King (2006)

This movie about the Bible’s Queen Esther was actually released back in October 2006 and understandably so, with low box office returns of USD 13.7M against a budget of USD 20M — after all, it’s of a lesser known Bible character. Hmm.

Hence, even though Esther was a Queen and has her own book in the pages of the Holy Scripture — that’s in the Old Testament, after the Book of Nehemiah and before the Book of Job — she’s still relatively unknown particularly to those who does not really read the Bible.

Thus, it’s not surprising that producers of this film came up with an intriguing title — ONE NIGHT with the King which was, in fact, based on the novel Hadassah: One Night with the King by Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen. Still, for real Christians, this should not be the case as the line became quite suggestive. Hey, Esther is not some one-night-stand girl! And how could people even make novels of such when we already have the ultimate reference in the Bible?? This would only discourage the world to open their Bibles even more, instead, just believe in what the movies or the novels say!

See? The producers themselves even acknowledged — like, the film added elements not present in the Biblical version as well as some non-Biblical ‘minor’ characters. Minor? Even the bite of an ant hurts, so be careful with that minor thing. Mind you, what good is a cool setting and pretty cinematography if you would only twist the Holy Scripture?

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Tiffany Dupont a.k.a. Queen Esther | Hadassah

At any rate, this is the real story. Esther is one marked Biblical character who was noted for her bravery in stepping before the king to save her people and God’s chosen ones — the Jews — from being annihilated. Well, you know, especially during those times of kings and pharaohs, rules were strict. Like, if you approach the king without permission, you could be put to death. Thus, one should not just acknowledge authority like a god but really follow protocol as well — otherwise, you incur the wrath of the ruler, or be a target of his ‘ministers’ so to speak.

Now, before Esther came to be, there was Vashti, the queen; however, since she did not adhere to the King’s request, the search for a new queen was mandated — where, ultimately, Esther was chosen. In time, Haman whom the king has just promoted was angered at Mordecai (uncle of Esther) for not bowing to him; and so, his pride led him to scheme on destroying the Jews throughout the whole kingdom by trapping them with laws that he pointed or suggested to the king.

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Mordecai with Hadassah before she became Queen Esther

Eventually, it was Haman who got caught by his own wiles and was put to death while Mordecai was honored as Esther saved the Jews. So, see what ‘pride’ brings? This is very evident, more so, during these times — and this is why there’s discord around the world and even between family. And so, this ‘pride’ should be the moral of the story which should have been emphasized instead of screen-time issues between Esther and Haman.

In the end, remember that the Bible is Holy — do not try to commercialize any part of it. Instead, impart only the truth — and help fortify faith.

Movie Review: Atomic Blonde (2017)

So, how many of you likes spy films? You know, like 007. Well, our feature for the day is a recently released spy movie that starred Charlize Theron and was entitled ‘Atomic Blonde’ based on the novel, ‘The Coldest City’.

Did know about this?? Okay, it’s understandable. Besides, it barely made a week in cinemas on this part of the world. Why? Let’s first check this out..

While the reviews were generally good, guess many somehow finds the film not interesting. Really. Just from the trailer alone. So, how could movie goers be enticed to see this film when they find it, what, sinister?? Like, Charlize seems to be always in the ‘dark’ — and talks like she’s constantly scheming.

Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) and David Percival (James McAvoy)

Of course, it’s a spy film! That’s why. But ‘said’ good guys don’t really scheme. They just react in the moment. Anyway, the movie is a low budget one yet it has already doubled its box office — thanks to Charlize. Yes. Though she was using a ‘bedroom’ voice in an action film, she in fact did well in her portrayal. In fact, most of the actors did. Especially James McAvoy who played David Percival, a ‘double agent’ stationed in Berlin.

However, there are more explanations that needs to be done here by its creators. Like, since Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is not an alien or something, there should be some hints on her unusual strength. Just listen to the sound effects! Her punches and those she took. Well, unless you’re Ronda Rousey, that’s pretty rare in females.

Sure, she also had her bruises but not until so many fights which makes it quite surreal! See, being a top notch spy is not enough an explanation to be super strong — as those who have come to know spy films, most females are stereotyped on the sensual side of the story — save for a few like Michelle Yeoh on her role in the 007 film Tomorrow Never Dies.

Another question would be the use of inappropriate music for some scenes. Like, when Delphine (Sofia Boutella) got killed, why play ’99 Luftballons’? Yes, it was mellow but that’s not enough. Somebody died. And we know the tune of the song to be hyper, so even if you mellow the tune, the lyrics would just make you recall its beat. They could have just removed the lyrics and played it softly if they really wanted that song. Makes sense?

Charlize Theron with Sofia Boutella (a.k.a. Delphine Lasalle)

Then we also have the ‘lesbian’ love scene between Lorraine and Delphine. While Hollywood may be trying to incorporate ‘openmindedness’ into films, guess many parts of the world are not ready for this. Spirituality and culture should always be considered. See, the scene was just sort of wild. The lesbian subplot was not even in the original book!

Lastly, the narrative just had a lot of twists. Mystery in movies should watch their step and not try to outdo other films of its genre by making people keep scratching their heads. Like the enigma of Satchel for one. Hey, Charlize was a ‘triple’ agent — like, an American agent feigning to be a British agent for MI6 with the intent of getting the Russians’ trust and so, act like a double agent for them. In the end, she was actually just manipulating everybody. Hmm.

Some labyrinth.