FlixChatter Review: DON’T LOOK UP (2021)

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In the climate we live in today, with global warming, political unrest AND pandemic wreaking havoc practically everywhere, do we need an apocalyptic movie about an extinction level event? I actually have been avoiding depressing apocalyptic movies these days, though sometimes I’m curious to see something because of the cast. Well, Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up is as starry as it gets.

We’ve got Leonardo DiCaprio as an astronomy professor Dr. Randall Mindy and Jennifer Lawrence as grad student Kate Dibiasky who discovered a huge comet the size of mount Everest (deemed the planet killer). The scariest part is that the comet is hurtling towards earth at such velocity that humanity only has mere 6 months to deflect it or we’d all be blown to smithereens. It’s a topic that hits uncomfortably too close to home, not just in terms of how divided out nation is in terms of the environment, but also in regards to the pandemic. The ‘sit tight and asses’ approach and then later using ‘don’t look up’ as a campaign slogan are so absurd yet sadly not-so-outlandish given Trump’s initial reaction to Covid.

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McKay’s script hits a few nerves, especially in terms of the growing rise of scary misinformation that’s gotten more and more out of control to the point of humanity survival’s self-sabotage. Now, even if one agrees with every point he’s making here, it doesn’t mean the film is automatically an enjoyable one. I think even a small dose of nuance would’ve worked in its favor, but then again, subtlety and restraint have not been McKay’s biggest strength.

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There were a few laugh-out-loud moments, many of them involving Leo’s character. But for the most part, it tries too hard to be funny as a lot of the jokes don’t land. Some are so way over the top it felt like I was watching an experimental variety show sketch written by interns. Besides, impending doom isn’t exactly funny business, so even when I was laughing, there’s always that nagging unsettling feeling. 

My biggest issue is how McKay writes his characters. Regardless of which side they’re on, they are borderline caricatures that none actually has a semblance of a relatable human being. Leo and Jen are the face of the ‘sane, intelligent humans’ who trust science and use crucial findings to help save humanity. While Meryl Streep as president Orlean and Jonah Hill as her chief of staff son Jason are basically Trump-inspired buffoons who can’t get their heads out of their @$$es long enough to face anything, no matter how dire, if it does not fit their agenda. Jason is definitely modeled after Eric Trump and his character is stupendously irritating.

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The film sure has star power though I can’t say it amounts any of the stars’ best work. Leo and Jen fare better here and McKay allow each of them to shine, which in this case equals to having a moment of ‘going completely berserk.’ This is Lawrence’s first big movie after a few years hiatus and her character reminds me a bit of her role in Silver Lining’s Playbook. 

Meryl and Jonah’s characters are meant to make viewers angry at their blatant ignorance and banality, so in that sense they succeeded. There are moments where I just want to throw stuff at my TV every time Orleans and Jason are talking. Same with the two morning show hosts (Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry) with their trivial feel-good programming. The moment Dr. Mindy just completely lost it during live TV is definitely a highlight here (it must be in Leo’s contract to have at least one freak out scene in his films).

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The most bizarre acting is courtesy of Mark Rylance who admittedly is quite inspired casting as Peter Isherwell, an amalgamation of all of the tech billionaires Jobs/Musk/Bezos combined. Rylance is a brilliant actor and while I understand his character is meant to be peculiar, it was so off-the-wall that it was cringe-worthy. But perhaps Rylance is the only actor in this ensemble who understood the assignment so well that he was actually satirizing his own character.

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The great Cate Blanchett is reduced to playing a variation of Fox News-type, sexy blond anchor. I usually love seeing Cate playing unsympathetic characters but not when her role is stripped off wit nor any kind of charm. Character actors Rob Morgan and Melanie Lynskey have a brief but memorable turns as a NASA official and Leo’s stay-at-home-mom wife, respectively, while Timothée Chalamet plays a skater boy who’s raised as an Evangelical Christian who hasn’t turned away from his faith. The praying scene towards the end is perhaps McKay’s blunt jab against a popular poll findings that even non-believers turn to prayer in the face of death.

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Most doomsday/apocalyptic movies, even the most clichéd-ridden and bombastic ones, still show a slice of humanity’s triumph against adversity. McKay on the other hand, seems to have a very pessimistic view of people as a whole. He deliberately aims for a gloom and doom approach here with no room for even a sliver of hope. As it the whole thing weren’t depressing enough, we’re subjected to a garish Ariana Grande‘s music video [aghast]. I actually have never listened to anything she’s done until now, but I have to give props to her for being a good sport about poking fun of her own pop-star persona.

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At 2hr18 min it’s also too bloated with a bunch of unnecessary scenes that don’t drive the story forward. The first hour was certainly promising, but it quickly became repetitive and verbose. The thing is, nobody likes to be hit over the head with anything, especially a topic so glaringly obvious. At the end of the day, the movie is just too pretentious and self-congratulatory for its own good. It also thinks most viewers lack the intellect to discern its allegory that he spoon fed us to the point of gagging. It’s a far cry from McKay’s previous work like The Big Short which is a biting satire of the financial crisis.

The characters are saying a lot on both sides, but in the end doesn’t the film really offer more insights than what most viewers already know. Though it may seem that way, Don’t Look Up is not as shrewd nor smart as it obviously think it is.

2-half Reels


Have you seen DON’T LOOK UP? Well, what did YOU think?

FlixChatter Review: Nightmare Alley (2021)

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With a name like Nightmare Alley and directed by Guillermo del Toro, those unfamiliar with the source material might assume it’s a horror movie. That’s what I thought before the trailer rolled around last September, but there is actually no ghost, ghoulish creatures or supernatural elements in this film. That does not mean there is no evil presence however, as the human heart can be utterly grotesque and vile.

Right from its opening scene, there’s a certain bleakness, a foul stench of the seedy world we’re about to enter. The carnival setting is inherently kooky and mysterious filled with strange, shadowy characters, but for a down-on-his-luck fellow like Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper), it could also mean a new opportunity. After a long bus ride, Stan arrives at the traveling carnival with just a bag and a radio in his possession. Before long, he enlist a job as a carny with its owner Clem (Willem Dafoe) and help him track down an escaping carnival geek.

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There’s a certain charm and affability about Stan (which Cooper portrays with such ease) that people immediately opens up to him, even share their secrets. Clem reveals how he lures drunks and drug addicts and deprave them to a point where they become a sideshow subject (carnival geek). Stan ends up working with a clairvoyant act Madame Zeena (the chameleonic Toni Collette) and her alcoholic husband Pete (David Strathairn). Zeena finds Stan ‘easy on the eyes’ and seduces him, while Pete takes a shine on Stan and even begin to teach him their trick they use to fool people into thinking that Zeena is actually a gifted mind reader.

I have to say the first part of the film drags quite a bit. I mean, a slo-burn build is expected in a noir, but this feels plodding and lethargic, and the gloomy vibe doesn’t help either. One would think the carnival world would be exciting, but I remember feeling that I want to escape this dark and dreary environment. Well, so does the protagonist. As Stan learns more about the trick of the trade, he’s rearing to leave and start a new life. He manages to cajole a pretty but wholesome carnival performer Molly (Rooney Mara) to start their own show together. Del Toro’s perennial favorite Ron Perlman plays Bruno who’s protective of Molly, as does his sidekick The Major (Mark Povinelli), but soon she’s out of their grasp.

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Fast forward two years later—Stan is now a successful mentalist for the Chicago elite, with Molly as his assistant. Using the knowledge he learns from Zeena and Pete, Stan uses their technique of coded language and ‘cold reading’ which is basically deductive exercises that psychics and fortune tellers use in their performance. The energy of the film starts to pick up at this point, and it gets even more interesting when Cate Blanchett shows up as psychologist Dr. Lilith Ritter who attempts to expose them during one of their shows. For a while, Stan’s scheming game turns out fruitful, especially once he teams up with Lilith who feeds him information about powerful men like judges and tycoons. With Lilith’s insider info, Stan manages to deceive these powerful men that he has a gift to summon the dead, but at what cost? At the heart of Del Toro’s tale of greed and treachery is a cautious morality tale… Stan clearly ignores Pete’s wise words about not leading people on about the ‘spook show’ they’re doing. ‘You can’t outrun God,’ he tells him adamantly.

Cooper showcases he’s a solid leading man, commanding the screen with cocksure swagger and restless ambition. There’s a moment where Molly has an argument following a show and from the moment she looks at him, there’s a palpable dismay in her eyes knowing that nothing will ever be enough for the man she loves. Mara, with her alabaster skin and mournful eyes, is perfectly cast as Molly who remains down to earth despite all the success.

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Meanwhile, Blanchett relishes on playing an alluring femme fatale. She always looks fantastic in period clothes, and she’s ravishing in form-fitting 1940s gowns and suits channeling Lauren Bacall in her delivery. I have to admit there’s a bit too much scenery-chewing on her part, and some of her lines comes off pretty corny. Still, it’s always enjoyable seeing her play a Machiavellian villainess and Stan definitely meets his match in Lilith in her slick, cunning ways. The one bit of casting I wasn’t too wild about is Richard Jenkins who’s usually a reliable actor, but I have a hard time buying him as a dangerous mob boss type as he just isn’t that menacing. I feel like I’ve been seeing Holt McCallany everywhere these days. Here he plays another stock character as Jenkins’s loyal bodyguard.

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As with all of Del Toro’s movies, his visual flair makes for a stylish adaptation. He clearly loves period pieces as he captures the era beautifully with meticulous attention to detail. Lilith’s art deco office is particularly lavish and glossy. No doubt she caters to high-end clientele with an office like that. For a film about manipulation and deception, the filmmakers are committed to realism in its storytelling. The carnival itself doesn’t look and feel artificial because the filmmakers actually built a carnival tent outdoors instead of shooting the film in a soundstage. It creates an eerie and chilling atmosphere that fits the narrative.

I love that moment the carnival staff pulls down the tent and the way the camera captures that moment. Del Toro collaborates with DP Dan Laustsen who also shot the Shape of Water and Crimson Peak. Costume designer Luis Sequeira does a spectacular job here, contrasting the clothes of the common folks at the carnival and the fashion of Stan’s wealthy clients and cohorts. The production design, costume design and cinematography seem to be a shoo-in at next year’s Oscars nominations.

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I haven’t seen the original with Tyrone Power in the lead role, but Del Toro’s version isn’t necessarily a remake of the classic, but more of a re-adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham‘s novel based on a script he co-wrote with Kim Morgan (I read that the two are recently married). For a director who has spent a great deal of his career making scary-looking monsters sympathetic, he doesn’t offer much redemption when it comes to corrupt human beings. The depravity of the human soul is in full display as most characters here are sleazy con-artists, though it’s a testament to Cooper’s charm that I can’t completely abhor Stan even at his worst. There’s still a layer of vulnerability to him despite his vice. Stan’s journey is quite a tragic one… a seemingly shrewd man who’s good at reading people, but who fails to decipher himself and the person whom he places his trust.

The finale is pretty predictable but it’s played out in a pretty suspenseful way that it was still thrilling to watch. It’s always nice to see a good payoff that comes full circle, and the ending is one that lingers in my mind long after seeing the film. Despite the sluggish start, Nightmare Alley is a pretty solid thriller with spectacular visuals that warrants a trip to the cinema. I might even rewatch this again at some point to unpack some of the intricate layers hidden beneath some of the flashy, pulpy shenanigans.

3.5/5 Reels


Have you seen Guillermo del Toro’s NightMare Alley? What do you think? 

This Just In! Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Nightmare Alley’ Trailer

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It’s been four years since Guillermo del Toro won a Best Picture Oscar for The Shape of Water, and this is the first feature film he’s worked on since. Of course it’s not the only film that had to shut down because of the pandemic. Per this Indiewire article, they stopped the shoot when shooting was halfway done in the Spring of 2020.

Though he’s known for his horror films, I’m intrigued by the fact that Nightmare Alley is a noir thriller. The story is based on a novel by William Lindsay Gresham published in 1946. Per Wiki, it’s a study of the lowest depths of showbiz and its sleazy inhabitants—the dark, shadowy world of a second rate carnival filled with hustlers, scheming grifters, and Machiavellian femmes fatales.

Full synopsis:

An ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than he is.

Behold it’s first trailer:


Now this is the kind of film I’d watch just for the cast! Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, and David Strathairn. Wow!! Apparently Cooper replaced Leo DiCaprio in the lead role, which is fine as I quite like the pairing of him with Blanchett who looks sultry as a femme fatale psychiatrist.

Is he man or beast?

Willem Dafoe’s narration repeatedly asks that question about one of the unexplained mysteries of the universe… the carnival world is inherently bizarre and mystical, filled with freaky ‘wonders of nature.’ But perhaps there’s a twist here? Sometimes it’s the ones considered regular/ordinary who turns out to be the ‘beast.’ I love that this trailer keeps us in suspense and not give anything away.

Now, I haven’t seen the original film, but I watched the trailer 1947’s version last night, starring Tyrone Power. This one reportedly isn’t a remake of that, but a re-adaptation of the novel. I love how from the film has that Old Hollywood look about them, I bet even it would look just as stunning in black and white.

One thing for sure, it’s going to be a visual feast!! The production design alone is freakin’ amazing, which is to be expected for del Toro… everything he’s done always look so hauntingly beautiful. As a big fan of period films, I can’t wait to marvel at the set pieces, costumes, lighting, etc. when it comes out.

Nightmare Alley is scheduled to be released on December 17, 2021… I can hardly wait!! This is definitely the film to go to the cinema for!


What do you think of the trailer? 

FlixChatter Review – How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

How To Train Your Dragon has officially become one of my favorite movie trilogies ever… and perhaps even rival Toy Story as my fave animated trilogies. When the first movie first came out, it kind of took me by surprise just how much I adore it. In fact, it’s one of those rare times that I give a full 5 out of 5 score to a film. I loved the second movie too, but it wasn’t as good as the first but still earned a stellar 4.5 out of 5. So naturally, I was excited to see the final conclusion of Hiccup and Toothless journey in their land called Berk.

This time, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is now a young man and since the death of his father Stoick (Gerard Butler in perhaps his best role ever), he’s now the chief of his land. Since the event of the last movie, Berk has become a dragon utopia where dragons of all sizes live in harmony with the Vikings community. The movie opens with an action sequence where Hiccup & his team of goons (except for the extremely capable Astrid) are in a rescue mission to release captured dragons from warlords. As they bring some of those creatures home, it’s clear that Berk has became way too chaotic for the two species to co-exist as the dragons’ and humans’ population continue to grow.

I like that Stoick hasn’t disappeared in the movie as he shows up in Hiccup’s flashbacks/memory flash. The late Berk chief has always been obsessed with the Hidden World, what Berk described as a safe haven for dragons, and now it’s become Hiccup’s mission to find that place. Meanwhile, Hiccup’s friendship with Toothless face the biggest test of all as the Night Fury became enamored by a beautiful stranger, a white-skinned dragon they end up calling The Light Fury.

As you might’ve seen in the trailers and various promos, the ‘dragons in love’ have been featured heavily. I’ve always been fond of Toothless, it’s simply an adorable creature with its cat-like eyes and movement. Light Fury is just as mesmerizing, I’d even call alluring in the way it bewitched Toothless. The moment Hiccup actually ‘coached’ his besotted friend and Toothless making an absolute fool of itself trying to impress its new lady friend is pretty hilarious.

One of the movie’s genuine emotional moments is when Hiccup realize he just might lose Toothless forever… and yet the good guy that he is, he learns to accept it. He even goes so far as rebuilding Toothless’ automatic tail so it could fly higher to be with Light Fury. But an enemy is never far behind… we’re introduced to a new villain, the dragon hunter Grimmel the Grisly who apparently has killed every living Night Furies except for Toothless. Voiced by F. Murray Abraham (in a kind of Transylvanian accent??), I kept thinking the way the character’s drawn reminds me of Terrence Stamp.

Unlike the first movie where the pacing is smooth and there’s a nice flow in how everything unfolds, this one feels a bit haphazard and chaotic at times. There are a lot going on—we’ve got the entire Berk community moving to a new place, Toothless & Light Fury romantic interlude, Grimmel’s fiery attacks, Vikings vs Warlords battle, etc. that it was dragging at times. Furthermore, Grimmel isn’t that memorable a villain and some of the humors from Hiccup’s eccentric group of friends also feel a bit repetitive.

Thankfully there are still a lot to love, and in the end, the relationship between Hiccup & Toothless is the one that tugs your heartstrings. In fact, the last 20 minutes is where the movie soars the highest and I’m glad I packed tissues!

Character-wise, I think Hiccup is perhaps one of the most well-written animated characters (heck even movie characters in general). It’s a well-rounded coming-of-age story and Hiccup is a character whose whose journey is worth following. His relationship with his dad Stoick is revisited in a heartwarming way that make up for the lack of mother/son relationship with his mother (Cate Blanchett). I also appreciate writer/director Dean DeBlois in that he writes a formidable female character Astrid (America Ferrera) beyond just a love interest, but a wise and empathetic counsel to the often-overwhelmed Hiccup. One of the blond twins Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig) is quite the comic relief, especially in her scenes with Grimmel.

Visually, the film once again looks positively glorious! I actually regret not seeing the original on the big screen, but I did see the second one in the cinema and it’s a must just for the flying sequences alone. The Hidden World itself is quite a spectacle, and seeing Toothless become more than the cute & loyal dragon pet but a leader for his species is pretty epic. It’s an intriguing parallel to Hiccup’s journey from boy to man. John Powell’s majestic score is one of my favorite movie music of all time (as I’ve highlighted here) I still absolutely love it here, it’s rousing and uplifting in the action scenes and perfectly touching in the quiet, dramatic moments.

I highly recommend this one, but I think it’d be more enjoyable if you’ve seen at least the first movie. Some people may think animation is mostly for kids, but this trilogy offers plenty for adults. The way it deals with mature themes, such as learning to let go, is emotionally resonant without giving up its playful nature. What a bittersweet goodbye to such wonderful characters we first saw nearly a decade ago. It’s definitely one of the most fun and most satisfying animated fantasy adventure with a stirring message of friendship, family and loyalty.


So what do you think of How To Train Your Dragon 3? Do you like this more or less than the original?

Trailer Spotlight: Ocean’s 8

It’s the last week before Christmas and the present comes early! I’ve been excited for this all-female Oceans flick for some time. Normally I’d say we don’t need another reboot/sequel/spinoff what-have-you… but y’know what, this year (well, any year really), an extra dose of girl power is extra awesome. 2017 is the year of Wonder Woman, and 2018 will be the year of Wonder Women. I mean this is as close as we’re probably gonna get to an all-female Avengers flick!

This is the one to watch just for the cast. Bullock + Blanchett + Bonham Carter … just those three alone is enough to shell out full price cinema ticket (if I had to pay that is). My hubby and I watched this right after dinner and he’s as pumped as I am to see this [is it any wonder I love my man?]

So Sandra Bullock is playing Danny Ocean’s sister Debbie, I wonder if this all-female Oceans flick idea happened when she and George Clooney were filming Gravity four years ago. In any case, buh-bye Clooney, Pitt, Damon & co. and hell-o ladies!! Fresh out of prison, Debbie Ocean plans a big heist at the Met Gala in NYC. What a team she’s put together: Lou (Cate Blanchett), Nine Ball (Rihanna), Amita (Mindy Kaling), Constance (Awkwafina), Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), and Tammy (Sarah Paulson). Too bad Elizabeth Banks dropped out of the cast, though I don’t mind Jennifer Lawrence isn’t in this (apparently she was offered a part).

Per IMDb, the eight main cast has won four Oscars, two Emmys, eight Grammys, six Golden Globes, five BAFTAs, and 10 SAGs combined. Woo wee! #girlpower

I totally forgot about Richard Armitage in this, he didn’t have a single line in the trailer so I have no idea who he’s playing. I barely noticed James Corden either until I saw it a second time. No matter though, forget the boys, it’s all about the ladies whoopin’ it up!

Not sure how involved Steven Soderbergh is on this spinoff, but given his track record with bad ass female in his movies I’d imagine he’d approve. This time we’ve got Gary Ross (Hunger Games, Seabiscuit) in the director’s chair and he wrote the script with Olivia Milch (one of Variety’s 10 screenwriters to watch in 2016).

I’m always up for a heist flick and this seriously it looks like a riot! The worst thing about this is the wait… June 8 can’t come soon enough. Well now I now what I’ll be anticipating come Summer movie season!


What say you? Thoughts on Oceans 8’s first trailer?

FlixChatter Review – THOR: Ragnarok (2017)

It’s been almost two weeks since I saw Thor: Ragnarok and I’m still giddy thinking about it. In fact, I had just seen Justice League two nights ago and honestly I’d rather write about the latest Thor movie, and this is one I’d readily watch again.

Let me preface this review with the fact that I’m a huge fan of its director, New Zealander Taika Waititi, ever since I saw What We Do In The Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople a year later. Those two rank as one of my favorite films of all time. In fact, even with an all star cast that includes my personal cinematic heroine Cate Blanchett, I’m most excited about Thor: Ragnarok because of Waititi. And boy did he deliver!!

It opens with our Asgardian hero, sans his Mjölnir hammer, being chained by a creature named Surtur who plans to destroy Thor’s planet by fulfilling the propechy of Ragnarok. Chris Hemsworth is definitely much more comfortable in the role, having played Thor half a dozen times by now. But here he gets to show off his comic chops as well. He manages to escape, gets his Mjölnir and fighting mojo back and he returns to Asgard. It’s always a hoot seeing Tom Hiddleston’s Loki (I actually like him more than Thor from the previous films). I’m not going to spoil it for you but what he discovers there is one of the most comical bits of the movie. Let’s just say Taika made a great use of a famous A-lister that could’ve played like an SNL skit if it wasn’t handled properly. Love seeing Sam Neill making a quick appearance too.

The following scenes takes Thor and his half brother Loki to earth, trying to figure out the wherebouts of his father. The scenes involving them and Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is funny stuff as well, peppered with Taika’s brand of quirky humor. As it turns out, it itsn’t just Loki who wants to take over the rule of Asgard, and this time she wouldn’t stop at that. With a name like Hela, of course she wants to rule the entire universe and unleash hell! Miss Blanchett relish on the opportunity to be a sexy, leather-clad, rockstar-ish goddess from hell, with another easy-on-the-eyes actor from Down Under Karl Urban as her lackey. Yes she seems to be purposely chewing the scenery but it works, and it’s fun to watch.

It’s clear the two brothers are no match for Hela and so Thor gets banished to a planet of scraps where his next crazy adventure begins! The new characters Taika introduced here, Valkyrie (bad-ass Tessa Thompson), the Grandmaster (the eternally amusing Jeff Goldblum), a rock creature Korg (voiced in a hilarious high-pitched voice by Taika himself) are all memorable! Even Rachel House (who was hilarious in Hunt for the Wilderpeople) got some hilarious one liners in the movie. I LOVE Valkyrie and Korg I wouldn’t mind seeing more of both of those characters in future Thor movies or even a spin-off! I also love seeing Idris Elba back as Heimdall, who became the loyal guardians for Asgardians. This is perhaps my favorite ensemble cast of all superhero movies.

I read that Taika has always wanted to make the latest Thor movie more comedic, whilst making some creative updates the character and its universe. Well he certainly’s done the job smashingly well! Yep, the term ‘Hulk Smash’ would apply to this movie and all the scenes with Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), both as Bruce Banner and the big green creature, are massively entertaining. Everyone seems to be having a blast making this and it shows. But just because it’s chock full of hilarious bits, it doesn’t mean there’s no plot here. The story actually holds up and there’s even some nice moments between Thor and Valkyrie that points to her past as Asgard’s defender. There’s a hint there might be something less-than-platonic between these two and you know what, I’d welcome it! It’s certainly more interesting than Thor and Natalie Portman’s Jane.

I’m glad that Marvel once again took a chance on an indie director (following the success of the Russo brothers with the Captain America movies) and Taika Waititi is one of recent filmmakers I discovered who I REALLY want to see making it big. I love that he pushed for more Indigenous representation in his films. Apparently he hired many Aboriginal crew members and the film was shot in Australia. There are quite a few in-jokes for Kiwis and Australians, like the Aboriginal flag colors and the spaceships named after types of Holden, Australian-made cars. My relative actually owned one of those when I was growing up in Indonesia!

SPOILER ALERT! (highlight to read) I don’t know if anyone else noticed this but the plot has a bit of social commentary about how the White people conquered a lot of the Indigenous land. When they’re inside the Asgardian palace, Hela said something about the dark history of Asgard… how Odin used to conquer different planets and wanting to rule the universe, with her by her side. But then Odin gained a conscience and became a benevolent ruler, thus banishing Hela because she didn’t share his vision. She said ‘where do you think we got all of this gold from?’ When I heard that, it sounded like a commentary about colonial privilege, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being the ‘stolen generation’ and white Australians living on someone else’s land. Even the Grandmaster’s line ‘slaves is such a harsh word, I prefer “prisoners with benefits”’ sounds like a sarcastic jab against people calling an awful thing differently as if that would actually lessen its awfulness.

Well, I’m curious if people notice those things or not. One thing for sure, this has become one of my all time favorite movie, not just my favorite Marvel movie. The actions scenes are definitely fun to watch. There are bombastic fight scenes but they don’t feel overlong or overdone like in some other superhero movies. There’s even an entertaining spaceship chase and of course the Thor vs Hulk battle promised in the trailer is still epic and fun! That ‘friend from work’ line is one of the many quotable quips from Taika Waititi’s movies I’d use again and again.

You would think it’d be tough to live up to the super fun trailer w/the rousing Led Zepellin’s Immigrant Song, but the movie manages to do just that… and then some! So yeah, Thor doesn’t just get a spunky new haircut but Taika gives him a whole new attitude and refreshing new take on his franchise. The funniest bits in the trailer is still hilarious in the movie, there’s so much joy and laughter in the whole theater. Like a joyful, thrilling amusement park ride, you can’t wait to get on it again as soon as it’s over!


Well, what did you think of ‘THOR: RAGNAROK’? Did you enjoy it as much as I did?

Five for the Fifth: JUNE 2016 Edition

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Welcome to FlixChatter’s primary blog series! As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. Summer blockbuster is officially here folks! Some of the June screenings I’m going to be seeing are Finding Dory, Legend of Tarzan, Now You See Me 2, etc.

To be honest with you, I’m not super excited about any of the June releases. So I’m setting my sights on a movie that won’t even be here until March 2017, that is the live-action version of Beauty & The Beast!

Apparently the teaser trailer broke the viewing record, and beats even the latest Star Wars (91.8 million times in its first 24 hours compared to 88 million times for The Force Awakens). I have to admit I was rather meh when it was first announced, but since I’m quite looking forward to it. But man, the main cast was spot on! Emma Watson looks perfect as Belle, as well as Dan Stevens with his baby blues as the Beast/Prince and Luke Evans as Gaston. Heck, Evans looked like the splitting image the animated version of Gaston it’s uncanny! I wish Jean Dujardin had been cast as the French Casanova candelabra Lumière instead of Ewan McGregor though.

Are you excited about this live-action remake of ‘Beauty & The Beast’? 

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2. Last week the rumor mill went into overdrive with this report that Daniel Craig reportedly turned down nearly $100mil to play Bond in two more films. No, I’m not going to ask who you’d want to replace Craig as until there is an actual formal announcement from Barbara Broccoli herself that he’s no longer playing Bond, every actor mentioned is just speculation and wishful thinking. I posted on Twitter who I’d love to see as Bond as I think the Yorkshireman all the requirements for a definitive cinema super spy in my book 😉

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One thing for sure, Craig will follow up his Bond role with a TV series called Purity, a dramatic thriller based on Jonathan Franzen’s novel of the same name. Per THRthe story centers on a young woman named Purity (who is known by the name of Pip) who, in search of answers about herself and her family, winds up interning in South America at the Sunlight Project, a group which deals with all the secrets of the world. It’s described as a story about youthful idealism, fidelity and murder. Like Bond movies, the story is also set in multiple locations, Berlin, Bolivia, New York, California, etc. Craig is to play Andreas, a German provocateur who crosses paths with Pip who sounds a lot like Julian Assange.

Premium Cable TV Showtime has ordered 20 episodes of it and production will begin next year. This project sounds pretty intriguing actually. I’m curious to see who else will join the cast, especially in the role of Pip.

What do you think of the premise of ‘Purity’ series?

3. For some reason I missed this news from a while ago that Sandra Bullock will be leading an all female cast of Ocean’s Eleven movie. According to The Playlist, director Gary Ross (The Hunger GamesSeabiscuit) came up with the idea and brought the idea to the original ‘Ocean’s’ franchise director Steven Soderbergh. I certainly welcome the idea, and it certainly could be fun. We’ll see if this might spurn all kinds of controversy the way the all-female Ghostbuster movie had been (frankly I think all those haters have no life nor an iota of imagination), but heck, I’ll so watch it! Well, there’s now reports that another Oscar winner, Cate Blanchett, might join the cast. Wahoo!!!!

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Who else would you like to see join the cast of this movie?
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4. Speaking of on-screen pairings, this question is inspired by the latest buddy cop action comedy The Nice Guys in which we see the unlikely pairing of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. I haven’t seen it yet but lots of people praise the two actors’ on-screen chemistry. I guess it shouldn’t surprise us the fact that director Shane Black’s classic Lethal Weapon had one of the best on-screen pairings ever with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. I also like the pairing of Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Val Kilmer & Robert Downey Jr.

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There have been other great buddy cop duos, comedic or otherwise. Robert Downey Jr & Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes, Colin Farrell & Brendan Gleeson in In Bruges, and even the small screen pairing of Matthew McConnaughey & Woody Harrelson in True Detectives season 1 was an audience favorite.

I had asked this question six years ago and posted my dream picks of MALE on-screen duos. My absolute dream would be to see Timothy Dalton & Alan Rickman pairing, alas that’s never gonna happen now. In any case, right at the top of my head, I’d love to see the pairing of:

  • Sam Riley & Daniel Brühl (he’s actually played opposite Sam’s wife Alexandra Maria Lara in Rush)
  • Idris Elba & Christian Bale
  • Viggo Mortensen & Daniel Day Lewis

I could go on and on… boy it must be REALLY fun being a casting director!

So just for fun, which male on-screen duo would you like to see on either films or tv? 

5. This month Five for the Fifth’s guest is Eddie from Sidekick Reviews Blog & Jaccendo.com!

Movie reshoots are a standard practice. Recent examples are Star Wars: Rogue One and Suicide Squad which haven’t been released yet.

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Some reshoots mostly add extra footage like Lord of the Rings, some make significant changes to endings or even characters like turning Shredder in TMNT back into an Asian character. A lot of classic films like Blade Runner, Jaws, Back To The Future, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Apocalypse Now, etc. have undergone reshoots.

So which movie(s) do you think was made better or worse by major reshoots?


Well, that’s it for the JUNE edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Take part by picking a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all!