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An Overdose Avengers Flick But Not Really Overdosed

Hmm.. What can I say about Avengers: Age of Ultron? Rather than a superhero movie, it’s more like a comic book movie. If you don’t think there’s a difference between the two, you are sadly wrong. What made it a comic book movie is the fact that there’s humor behind conversations as if it’s a natural thing while fighting a war but also has some serious moments. To add to that, there’s the thing Disney/Marvel Studios does best and it’s the dramatic action scenes. 

Joss Whedon, who was the director for this movie, brought life to each character without making it specifically targeted to an individual. But there was some actual discussions of what kind of impact war brings to the world or better yet, humanity. It’s neat that Marvel Studios and Whedon hasn’t forgotten that behind all the bedazzled world of superheroes, there’s some real topics that are reminded to the viewers.

I do have to say that each individual actors and actresses had such fluid but rigid chemistry even if there was probably a couple of takes here and there. What I mean is that a team can work together but not know anything about each other. All I can say is that it was well displayed. The chemistry between two mad scientists, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) rejecting what is said to be “the man wasn’t made to meddle” medley is believable even if it’s a movie. I say this because their hope of a humanity evolving into a better place, makes you wonder.. Is this what every scientist thinks about? Capt. America (Chris Evans), our eye-candy leader, who believes that every time people try to stop a war before it starts, it starts. Can I just say Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is just flat out hilarious? Oh, you say son of Odin can’t have any humor? Wrong. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) both portray opposites of what having a family is about, but at the same time, it connects. You’ll understand what I mean when you watch it. 

There’s our quick and weird Maxioff twins, Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) who play a part that connects both our Avengers and ah yes… Ultron (James Spader), our main antagionist. This guy just simply kills it. Without spoiling anything, let’s just say… It’s just what you need so the movie doesn’t just seem to be about the Avengers.

Deciding that humans’ fatal mistake is “thinking order and chaos are opposites” — which makes me think that Marvel’s credo is Buddhism, which isn’t the worst foundation for an action movie. Whedon finds a perfect balance between adolescent hero-worship and smartass banter in Age of Ultron
Biggest disappointment? A mushy Beauty and the Beast kinda theme during such war times and that on-off switch on the accent from Olsen. Aside from that, well made for a complex story such as this.

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A LIGHT AND MAGICAL FAIRYTALE BUT NOT A STEPSISTER TO A CLASSIC

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It’s absolutely stunning. A fairytale as familiar as Cinderella, the trick in sprucing it up for a new generation is figuring out how to rework the most precious treasure that smells distinctly of mothballs seem fresh again. Director Kenneth Branagh, who has gone from Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit to Thor, creates a dazzling dream of a live-action movie with a surprisingly obvious solution by sprinkling some pixie dust where it will be notice most: casting and costumes. And it’s not a musical.

The radiant Lily James (best known as the cousin Lady Rose on Downton Abby), stars as Ella, a porcelain-skinned Disney heroine who is mistreated by her stepmother and her two nitwit daughters, Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drizella (Sophie McShera). Sound familiar? It definitely sounds very true to the book, well, that’s because it is. But what gives the new Cinderella its deliciously sinister spark is who’s doing the tormenting. Enter Cate Blanchett, who lets it rip in a delirious swirl of candy-colored evil. From her ruby-red lips to her Sandy Powell-designed costumes and courtesy of the legendary Dante Ferretti’s production design, which are all kinds of wonderful. A cross between Coco Chanel and Norma Desmond, she smartly plays her harpy-like personality so well to the audience.

Alas, this is Cinderella’s story — Ella’s forced to live in the drafty attic, eat leftovers, do menial chores, and sleep by the burning embers of the fireplace. Even her first meeting, on horseback, with Kit (Richard Madden), a dreamy prince with a jaw so chiseled and blue eyes that you could get lost in, Ella describes of ideas on how to run a kingdom. The rest of the story from the pumpkin chariot, the glass slipper, and so forth, is the epitome of faithfulness.

Overall, it was a great opportunity to create a whole life beyond the fairytale, which is already so beautiful as it is, but making it richer and giving each character their own specific back stories. Kenneth Branagh kept it light and magical, much like a fairytale.

I’m still a bit wary of the tale’s retrograde notions of what constitutes wish fulfillment for girls. But the element of strength from unity is something audiences will definitely respond to. A story about two people coming together who actually bring out the best in one another, and from that love comes strength. But the fizzy cocktail combination of Blanchett’s cartoonish hauteur and Branagh’s visual razzle-dazzle and confectionary sets manage to take a tale as wheezy as Cinderella and make it feel almost magical again and just how powerful love is.

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Midnightmoviecritics Changes

Hey everyone!

Hope you all are doing well and having a fantastic year! Midnightmoviecritics or some would call it, MMC is being remodeled under a new name, FlickOut.

Our blog and company has had history over these past few years and we would like to thank every one of you who show your support towards our site.

We will really focus on bringing out movie reviews as much as possible as well as events that are held when there are premieres or opening nights.

Stay tuned for new updates. Links will follow when new site goes up!

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GOJIRA (Godzilla): Less Is More for the Best Monster Bash in Ages

Let me put my cards on the table. I was one of those kids who spent their youth watching Creature Double Feature smack downs between Godzilla and his arsenal of enemy combatants such as Mothra, Ghidorah and King Kong. There was something about seeing these behemoths stomp Tokyo to dust that made me absolutely giddy: the primal doomsday terror of a beast created by A-bomb radiation, the model-shop ingenuity, the laughable man-in-a-rubber-suit campiness. It’s been 16 years since Hollywood nearly soured that love affair and I was hopeful that the splashy new IMAX 3D reboot might rekindle the old flame.

Unfortunately, Gareth EdwardsGodzilla feels like two movies Scotch-taped together. In one, Bryan Cranston plays a nuclear engineer with a tragic past who’s racing to expose the truth about a series of seismic anomalies, Aaron Taylor-Johnson as his estranged soldier son, and Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins are a pair of exposition-spouting scientists trying to keep straight faces while talking about electromagnetic pulses and mankind’s hubris. In the other, mammoth CG beasts knock the snot out of one another. Only one of these movies is any good. Thankfully, it’s the monster side of it.

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Edwards, whose only previous film was 2010’s low-budget Monsters, has been given a quick call-up to the majors with the reported $160 million Godzilla. He doesn’t seem too interested in his actors, they’re more plodding than their reptilian costars and you don’t care about a single one of them. Edwards does know how to fashion some serious monster mayhem though. Taking a cue from Jaws, he wisely delays Godzilla’s appearance, building suspense. In movies like these, it’s all about the slow tease and the big reveal. As an appetizer, though, he gives us a pair of ”MUTOs” (massive unidentified terrestrial organisms) — a male and female duo of giant, Giger-esque creatures with sleek pincer jaws that resemble humongous staple removers. The MUTOs, who arrive on the scene after leveling a Japanese nuclear reactor, care about two things: feeding on the radiation that created them and mating with each other in… San Francisco of all places.

When Godzilla first lumbers on screen to hunt the MUTOs and ”restore balance,” he feels both nostalgically familiar and excitingly new. Every time you see a glimpse of him, it just makes you cheer him on. As big as a Sheraton and with a shriek that rumbles your insides, he appears beefier and meaner than you remember. But looks can be deceiving. Godzilla is humanity’s only hope for destroying the MUTOs or as Watanabe’s Dr. Serizawa says, ”Let them fight!” Oh and fight they do, in an epic clash that turns the Bay Area to rubble. Unlike last year’s semi-disappointing Pacific Rim, Godzilla actually shows us its monsters without a scrim of rain and a cloak of darkness. And the thrill of the film is getting the chance to fetishize their sheer size and physicality as they rip through power lines and demolish buildings with their lashing tails. In its handful of moments like these, Godzilla almost makes you feel like a kid again.

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THE RETURN OF MMC 2014

Hey MMC (Midnight Movie Crew) fans,

It certainly has been a long time since anything’s been posted. Due to some difficulties, everything was stalled.

But not to worry, MMC is officially back in action with NEW staff!! Especially with all that’s coming out this year.

Thanks again for your support towards MMC!!

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Razor-clawed Review of ‘The Wolverine’

Even if it doesn’t entirely clear away the stench of its misbegotten predecessor, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, this latest adventure of grizzled mutant Logan (Hugh Jackman) feels like a return to form for the oft-erratic “X-Men” series. To wipe the slate clean, Jackman and director James Mangold (Knight and Day; Girl, Interrupted) have teamed up to bring out the claws once again in The Wolverine. While it’s definitely a more entertaining and far deeper film than the last Wolverine outing, it still falls short of the top tier of Marvel tentpoles like Iron Man and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.

Based on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s much-loved 1982 comic-book arc, The Wolverine is an existential (and at times soddenly heavy) story about our razor-taloned hero grappling with the burden of immortality and loss. But before we wade into that therapy session, the film opens with a harrowing sequence set, like most of the film, in Japan. It’s WWII, and Jackman’s Logan is imprisoned in a Japanese POW camp in Nagasaki as B-29s fly overhead to deliver the atomic bomb. During the blast he saves one of his captors, a soldier named Yashida, who, during the explosion, learns of Wolverine’s invincibility and ability to heal his own wounds.

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Decades later, Logan, who hasn’t aged a day, has renounced violence and lives as a hermit bonding with grizzlies in the Yukon. There, he’s tracked down by a punky, red-haired Japanese girl named Yukio (Rila Fukushima), who informs him that the man he saved back in the prison camp is now a powerful industrialist on his deathbed. He’s requesting Logan’s presence to thank him and settle the karmic debt that he believes he owes him.

Logan heads to Japan to pay his respects and discovers not only that the dying Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi) wants to steal the secret to Logan’s immortality, but also that he has a granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto), who’s about to inherit his fortune and is in need of Logan’s unique brand of badass protection. Why Logan complies is never really explained, perhaps because of justice? Regardless, Logan and Mariko are on the run from a lethal posse of tattooed Yakuza and some other samurai-style baddies straight out of the Kill Bill playbook, including Yashida’s femme fatale blonde nurse (Svetlana Khodchenkova) who possesses certain viper-y gifts of her own. Although Logan doesn’t even speak one lick of Japanese in any of the scenes.

As Logan and his charge hit the road, sparks fly, ninjas attack, and Wolverine begins to experience something he never has before — the actual fear of death. You get to see how he’s both physically and emotionally vulnerable. In other words, human. All of this makes for a Wolverine tale that’s more loaded with psychological questions (his immortality is seen as a curse) and makes the haunted character more interesting. Still, that’s no excuse for the film’s gauzy dream sequences with Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey haunting him from the beyond.

Still, in the final wash, The Wolverine provides a compelling look into a beloved screen character and offers up enough excitement to merit its existence. That said, it’s worth pointing out two things that The Wolverine gets right (aside from Jackman’s always excellent, strong-and-silent-type performance as Logan). The first is an action sequence that occurs mid-way in the film, when Wolverine is being pursued on top of a bullet train. By now, we’ve all seen so many beat-downs atop locomotives that they’ve become numbingly similar. But the one in The Wolverine is so frantic and adrenalized (not to mention the only part of the film that takes advantage of 3-D) that the familiar becomes new again. The film also sticks the landing on a brief teaser scene after the end credits that hints at future developments in the X-Men universe. I won’t spoil the pleasure of what happens. But you have to hand it to Marvel for managing to leave audiences breathless in anticipation of a sequel after making them sit through two-plus hours of merely satisfactory storytelling.