FlixChatter Review – AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019)

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call the release of AVENGERS: ENDGAME as an event, at least to fans of the MCU. If you don’t know what that acronym stands for, but yet you’re curious enough to finally check out just what the fuss is about, I suggest watching a few Marvel movies first in order to fully appreciate what’s going on in this movie. There are 21 MCU movies up until this point, broken down in three phases. ENDGAME, as the title suggest, is the cumulation of the most of the heroes’ journey.

As I was watching the movie, I thought about how much I have come to care about these characters and what they have gone through. Since the release of Iron Man 11 years ago in 2008, there have been multiple new characters being introduced, but in the end, the film pretty much focused on the original six Avengers who survived Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Infinity War. Now, I know there have been calls NOT to spoil the major plot points, though it should go without saying for every movie. FlixChatter readers know I’m very careful about spoilers. That said, it’d be tough to review this film without potentially revealing some key things, so if you prefer to go into the film completely blind, you should stop reading this now [consider yourself warned].

The movie clocks in at 3 hours 1 minute. It’s perhaps the longest superhero movie ever, but there’s just SO much to cover. It actually goes by relatively fast, but that’s not to say there aren’t any slow moments. If the Marvel Cinematic Universe is organized in phases, this movie is comprised of three specific ‘chapters’ if you will. The surviving superheroes (and a powerful new ally) only have one thing in their mind, that is to go after Thanos. It’s quite amusing to see the supreme villain is actually living a rather domesticated life, seemingly not losing much sleep after wiping out half of all living creatures. I’m not going to say how that ‘avenging’ business goes, but the movie then jumps ahead five years.

The second act is perhaps the slowest part of the movie, but I feel like the quieter moments are necessary. Naturally those who survived the snap are in mourning, some have lost more than others… some lost absolutely everything they hold dear. It’s not something people can just move onward and upward, not even those as mighty as the Avengers. As Steve Rogers said in the trailer, ‘Some people move on, but not us.’ Some are dealing with this new ‘post-Thanos snap’ era better than others. One could say they’re all dealing with an intense case of PTSD. Rogers is shown in a therapy session, while Hawkeye and Thor are dealing with this trauma in very different ways. I actually love how this movie is playing with our expectations of certain characters. Let’s just say, some of their um, evolution, for a lack of a better word, is truly amusing and not at all what I expected.

Themes of loss, anguish, regret, vengefulness, sacrifice are all we expect in a film that promises to be ‘the end of the line.’ Those themes are explored well here by writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, brought to life brilliantly by Joe & Anthony Russo. By this time, most of the actors have convincingly embodied their characters. Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner who made up the original six are particularly strong here, with Josh Brolin’s Thanos as the perfect villain. This movie has plenty of genuine emotional moments without being too heavy handed. It’s dark at times without being too brooding or overly gloomy. In fact, there are plenty of funny, witty scenes that provide the perfect levity to balance out the heartbreaking moments.

I’m glad my bladder held out well despite the three-hour running time, so I didn’t miss anything. I have to say though, the level of satisfaction this movie is would depend on how much you care about the characters that have been carefully crafted in the past decade. By the same token, if you’re not familiar with the previous movies, especially the previous Avengers movie, you’d find this movie utterly discombobulating. Even I find the plot rather convoluted and some things don’t make any sense. But most movies involving SPOILER ALERT (highlight if you want to read) time travel, especially involving quantum physics, is bound to be a head-scratcher. Yet that plot device also allows for backstory for certain characters, a walk down memory lane for others and perhaps even a farewell of sort given that the ‘end is near.’ If I were to nitpick however, I find the action spectacle in its finale to be too bombastic for me. It’s a problem for most superhero movies that even the best ones can’t seem to overcome. Fortunately, the Russos remain focused on the characters and what they have lost/stand to lose, which keeps the story grounded despite some overblown action sequences.

We all have our favorite character(s), and mine happens to be the first Avenger. My heart constantly went pitter-patter wondering what’s to become of Captain America. I have avoided reading all the incessant fan theories, and I’m glad I did. Part of the journey is the end. This movie delivers on that premise and it completes many of the characters’ arc in such an emotional way. It also lives up to the ‘whatever it takes’ premise as the Avengers face one impossible odds after another. Thor’s line ‘because that’s what heroes do’ was delivered facetiously in Thor Ragnarok, but here it holds a whole new meaning.

What made the MCU franchise so successful and gratifying to fans is that there’s a unifying thread throughout the movies. Yes, there are parts that have continuity problems–I mean what happened to Wanda aka Scarlet Witch’s Russian accent after Avengers: Age of Ultron?? But in the grand scheme of things, the storylines are so tightly-interwoven that by the time they all assembled in Endgame, we know just how high the stakes are for these characters. It also helps that earth mightiest heroes have a worthy adversary to fight against, which in and of itself is quite a feat. For a movie with such a compelling premise and a humongous build-up, it would be a shame if the payoff is weak. Thankfully that’s not the case here and for that I’m grateful. I’m also glad I packed tissues as it’s an emotional roller coaster of the best kind. Endgame made me laugh out loud one moment, then bawl my eyes out the next.

The film is an artistic and technical marvel. The set pieces are great, which is to be expected for a film of this scale. Alan Silvestri, the original composer of The Avengers, delivers rousing music with his iconic score, but it also sounds perfectly melancholy when it needs to be. What a bittersweet and worthy send-off for a bunch of beloved characters. I don’t even mind watching it again before its theatrical run is over, it’s THAT good.

Bravo to the Russos once again for completing a satisfying finale to such a behemoth franchise. There must have been an enormous pressure on them to deliver and I think, all things considered, they did an astounding job.


What do you think of AVENGERS: ENDGAME? Let’s hear it!

Week In Review: A comedic play, Spider-man Homecoming and podcasting

How’s your weekend everyone? Well it’s been quite a whirlwind week for me, but a fun one nonetheless. I didn’t get an extra day off for Fourth of July, but still a four-day work week is better than five 🙂

I did manage to see a fun play on Friday night, a French farce called Don’t Dress For Dinner. It’s actually the opening night of the theatre company run by my lead actor Peter Hansen, in which he also starred in with five other actors.


I also got to see one of its rehearsals last week which was really fun to see. I had never been to a play rehearsal before and the fact that it’s a comedy is even more delightful to watch. Oh as if I hadn’t been busy enough w/ my film AND Kickstarter campaign, I also helped redesign his theatre website. (yep I need a vacation real bad!)

Saturday was a hot day, so after a scorching afternoon going to Art Crank in NE Minneapolis, we cooled off watching the new Spidey flick.

I have to admit I wasn’t all that enthused to see this so if it wasn’t for my hubby’s insistence, I probably would’ve waited for its VOD release. Fortunately it ends up being a pretty decent flick which is NOT an origin story, thank goodness!

It’s fun to see Peter Parker being a proper teenager and Tom Holland is perfectly believable in the role. Some of the banters between him and his BFF Ned (Jacob Batalon) seems too cutesy with all the ‘awesome’ which at times doesn’t ring true. But as the film progressed it didn’t bother me and they do have some fun memorable moments. Our young’un hero is far more eager to be a hero than in past interpretations but I’m glad actually gets to do something heroic and does it on his own account.

I hadn’t paid much attention to this film so I was pleasantly surprised to see Michael Keaton as the villain. He’s definitely one of the best villains in the plethora of Spidey movies I’ve seen over the years. My fave is still Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) from Sam Raimi’s Spider-man 2 and Keaton’s Adrian Toomes is right up there with him. I like villains who are more of a tragic character, not an all-out monster hellbent on destroying the world. I enjoyed watching Keaton as a cross between Batman and Birdman when he’s wearing the birdlike costume, but his character actually has some depth. There’s also a pretty bizarre father-daughter storyline here that I did not see coming.

The movie starts out pretty light, Peter’s fanboy-ing over Tony Stark also gets overdone, but the movie actually grows darker with a genuine sense of dread. I am however quite puzzled by the hype over Zendaya in this movie. Not because her acting wasn’t good but her character barely registers here to even make any impact. Yes I appreciate that she’s not just another love interest but I wish the slew of writers actually gave her something to do. The movie does hint that she perhaps will have a larger role in the inevitable sequels.

Despite me feeling blasé about this reboot, this movie ends up being pretty enjoyable. There are a couple of thrilling action sequences though the finale is still way too loud & bombastic. Casting-wise, Holland fits the role nicely and he seems to have fun doing it. There are fun moments of Peter poking fun at members of the Avengers which is in keeping with him being a 15-year-old kid. It was pretty fun seeing Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and his chauffeur/personal assistant ‘Happy’ (Jon Favreau) as part of the story too. I’m not exactly clamoring to see more of Spidey movies though, but I suppose if they gotta make ’em at least they don’t suck.


The weekend is topped off w/ my first time doing a podcast! It was fun being a guest for an episode of The Film Pasture, hosted by my friend Vern from Vern’s Video Vortex with film blogger Kristen Lopez. Vern was kind enough to invite me to discuss our picks of Top 5 Female Filmmakers and let me promote my short film Hearts Want which I can proudly say has a strong woman of color in the lead and done by a mostly-female crew.

I will post the podcast here once it’s up. As you know I’m a big supporter of women filmmakers and having just written/produced my first film, naturally I have even more respect for those who’ve made it in the male-dominated film industry.


Well, did you see anything good this weekend? If you’ve seen the newest Spider-man movie, what did you think?

Question of the week: Actors whose famous role you can’t shake

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I just reviewed The Judge this weekend and I mentioned how RDJ is playing yet another variety of Tony Stark. He’s always the smartest guy in the room, and always have an arsenal of snarky remarks he can just throw at you at the best opportunity. I’m not just talking about the recent roles he does after Iron Man, but even when I saw Zodiac I still can’t get past his Stark persona. There’s always a hint of that self-assured swagger that’s borderline cocky but somehow still lovable, which is something an actor either has or doesn’t, it’s not something they can teach even at Juilliard or RADA. You know what though, I’m tired of his schtick. As Sati said in her astute comment, his cockiness seems to translate off-screen now that it’s getting on my nerves. No matter how lovable a character, an actor’s job is to be able to pull off a variety of roles convincingly, to make a conscious effort to *disappear* into whatever role they do. I think the bigger/more famous the character is, the more responsibility said actor has to shake that off.

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Source: Eccentric Billionaire Tumblr

Now obviously RDJ isn’t the only actor with this kind of predicament, where somehow they can’t escape their most famous role. I think Johnny Depp can’t seem to shake off his Jack Sparrow image either. I’m not saying RDJ or Depp aren’t capable actors because they are, but perhaps their schtick just sticks in the mind longer than others. On the contrary, someone like like say, Christian Bale doesn’t always remind me of Bruce Wayne when he’s playing other roles post-Batman and I don’t get hang up on Maximus in Gladiator whenever I see Russell Crowe on screen.

I guess I’m just curious if anybody else feel the same, whether it’s RDJ or another actor.


So which actor(s) whose famous role you can’t shake? Or perhaps the question should be, actors who can’t shake their most famous role 🙂

FlixChatter Review: The Judge (2014)

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It’s a film featuring Robert vs Robert. One is a hugely popular actor hitting a stratospheric rise in his Phase 2 (pardon the Marvel pun) of his career if you will, and the other a veteran actor known for his dramatic intensity. As with the case of Robert Downey Jr, I feel that ever since I saw him playTony Stark, I notice that essentially he plays a similar personality as that character in a lot of his other films. In this one, he plays a top notch defense attorney who’s got a reputation for representing guilty people with money. Hank Palmer is smart, wealthy, snarky, irreverent and a bit of a womanizer. Sounds familiar? 

The story pretty much starts after his mother dies suddenly and he has to return home to a small Midwestern town for her funeral. It’s apparent Hank hasn’t been home in a while and thus made him sort of an outsider with his own family, especially his dad, Judge Joseph Palmer, played by Robert Duvall. It doesn’t take long before the two butt heads, both stubbornly harboring old grudges and neither can reign their ego to concede. I feel that the film takes too slow to get to the heart of the story, which is when the town’s judge became a murder suspect of a man he sent to prison who was later paroled. You could see where the story’s going from a mile away, so there’s hardly any surprises when they all materialized. Even the fact that Joseph is terminally ill, which he vehemently tried to hide from everyone including his own family, is hardly surprising.

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The Judge is part courtroom/dysfunctional-family drama has its moments, but often times it’s way too clichéd and too over sentimental for me to truly enjoy. I’m a big cryer, I mean I cry watching even animated movies like Toy Story & How To Train Your Dragon, but I barely shed a tear in this one. Now I know that alone isn’t a measure of a movie’s quality, but I felt that the lack of emotional involvement makes this one pretty forgettable. The father-son storyline feels very familiar, you’ve seen it done many times over in both films and TV. Regardless of its A-list cast, this courtroom drama type story seems more suitable for a TV movie. 

Now speaking of that cast, I think Downey has dramatic chops, that’s been proven before, but here he doesn’t quite hit a new note. He’s Downey being Downey, and he seems to be playing another Tony Stark-type persona. Duvall is good but again, I think his acting cred is what makes his role interesting, not necessarily how he’s written. Even the scenes between two acting juggernaut RDJ and Duvall didn’t quite ignite the screen as you expect it to. Some of the shots of the courthouse seems to [attempt to] evoke To Kill A Mockingbird, which was Duvall’s big-screen debut. Alas, I must say that his small, non-speaking role there makes a bigger impression to me than he was in this entire film. The two supporting cast that did make an impression to me are Billy Bob Thornton and Vera Farmiga, as Joseph’s prosecutor and Hank’s high school sweetheart respectively. However, despite my admiration for Farmiga’s talent, the tertiary storyline between her and RDJ’s character gets more screen time than it needs to be. Dax Shepard lends some comic relief but his performance seems too goofy that it feels out of place. 

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It turns out that this was directed by David Dobkin, the director of R-rated comedies The Wedding Crashers & The Change-Up, which could explain the uneven tone of drama/comedy here. I think this film would’ve been a bit more digestible if it weren’t so repetitive and overlong. At 2 hour, 22 min, it’s 3 minute shorter than Gone Girl but not nearly half as intriguing. Now overall I think it’s a decent film but given the quibbles I’ve listed above, I’d probably save this one as a rental.

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Has anyone seen The Judge? Well, what did you think?

10 Reasons Iron Man 3 Exceeds My Expectations

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Truth be told, this is one superhero film this year I wasn’t really  looking forward to. I mean I LOVE the first film, and I didn’t even hate the second one even with its set of flaws. But I guess I’m just a bit worn out with the character of Tony Stark himself, his snarky cool edge that was so fun to watch before is just getting stale. But thanks to writer/director Shane Black, somehow he manages to win me over with his direction style. Here are just some things he did right:

1. Black and co-screenwriter Drew Pearce came up with a thrilling story that doesn’t dwell too much on the rich-billionaire syndrome. I mean we’ve seen all that, so no need to keep rehashing that fact. We see the frivolous party-animal part of Tony Stark in a flashback at the beginning, but shortly after that, he’s plucked out of his elements. It’s a fish-out-of-water story of sort, as Tony ends up being stranded in a snowy small town in Tennesse.

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Shane Black on the set with RDJ

2. The burning question for this particular superhero, perhaps more so than any other Marvel superhero is this: Does the suit make the man or the man made the suit? In the Film School Rejects interview Shane Black and exec. producer Kevin Feige, the interviewer said, “…you seem as interested in having Tony out of the Iron Man armor as in it”. Here’s Black’s answer:

I want the Iron Man stuff to have impact. And if he’s always in the suit doing stuff, it doesn’t have any impact. If every once in a while he gets just a piece of the suit and POW! he launches a bolt and somebody goes flying 20 feet through the air, but it burns him to do it, that has impact.

I think that’s a wise move right from the get go, having such a strong vision for the character and make him the primary focus once again. I think Black succeeds in creating that delicate balance of seeing both persona of Tony Stark, making the most of Robert Downey Jr.‘s undeniable screen charisma that seems to only get better with age.

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Now, THAT’s the money shot

3. Going back to basicsbut somehow makes the old feels new again. The reason I like the first film was because we see Tony as a real genius who’s seemingly thrive under even the most desperate circumstances with his ability to build something out of nothing. We see that MacGyver side of Tony here, how he somehow can still rise to the occasion outside of his state-of-the-art lab and without his loyal robotic butler Jarvis. Tony Stark actually has to shop at a Home Depot type of store like the rest of us, ahah. The ‘relationship’ between the hero and his Iron suit gets an even more amusing play here, which seems even more hilarious than ever before.

4. Shane Black is no stranger to buddy action-comedies. After all, he was the writer behind the Mel Gibson/Danny Glover action franchise Lethal Weapon. He’s also worked with RDJ in the wacky thriller-comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, where RDJ and Val Kilmer made a droll and quirky pair.

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Here RDJ still has a great rapport with General Rhodes (Don Cheadle), that whole bit about War Machine having a more nationalistic name Iron Patriot delivers some laughs. But when Rhodes is not always around to swap snarky banters with, Black cast a precocious whiz boy (Ty Simpkins) as his sparring partner. The 11-year-old Simpkins is able to hold his own against the veteran actor, and their banter is fun to watch. I love how Tony is still being Tony regardless who he’s dealing with, not allowing anyone—no matter how old—to wallow in self-pity, including himself. It was an unlikely duo that works in the story.

IronMan3_TheMandarin5. Surprising twist on the villain that I didn’t see coming. Having a more realistic ‘real world’ adversary with the terrorism angle works well here instead of simply having another suited-armor nemesis. But there’s more than meets the eye here about the eccentric psychopath The Mandarin that still hit me out of left field. I think comic readers might not necessarily appreciate the alteration but I consider it to be a pleasant surprise that’s sooo entertainingly zany.

Perfect casting of Sir Ben Kingsley in that role, stealing scenes whenever he appears on-screen. The scene of him, Stark and Rhodes is definitely one of the major highlights, but the less I say about the character the better for the sake of your viewing enjoyment.

6. Guy Pearce looking cool and hunky for a change, instead of looking like 200 years old (Prometheus) or some follicly challenged gangster (Lawless). He’s not the kind of villain that takes himself too seriously, Aldrich Killian is a pretty cool name and Pearce plays him as a charming baddie that could easily match Downey’s quick wits. There’s a scene towards the finale that somehow reminds me of his breakthrough role in Memento, I don’t think it’s an homage or anything, it’s just something I picked up on. Pearce seems to have had a good time filming this and it shows!

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7. Fun action set pieces but yet they’re not just some over-the-top and vapid bombastic shoot-em-ups (*cough* Die Hard 5 * cough*). The most memorable one, that you’ve likely seen in the trailer, is the relentless attack on Tony’s Malibu mansion. I remember marveling at that sprawling beach-front property in the first movie, and seeing it being destroyed to bits was wow, I’ve got to admit my heart sank a bit as I watched it.

The eye-popping special effects are to be expected. I still enjoy watching our armored hero shooting off to the sky, but this time, the flying sequence isn’t so much about Iron Man looking hip and cool on the air, but more about what he can do with that gift. Ultimately, it’s Tony’s sharp thinking that does the saving, not simply the power of that suit itself.

8. Robert Downey Jr.’s consistent dedication to the role is one of the main factors the franchise hasn’t lost its juice. Everything we’ve come to know and love about the character is all there, Tony’s flair for the theatrics, his nerdy obsession with his robotic toys, and his snarky prowess is still firing on all cylinders. Yet somehow under Black’s direction, it feels fresh, sprightly, and endearingly self-deprecating. I think the key here is showing the character’s vulnerability and contrast that with his larger-than-life billionaire antics.

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There are countless hysterical scenes where things don’t go according to plan for Tony. Even in the moment he needs it most, his invention can still let him down, and that sense that our hero isn’t always so invincible makes him more human, and in some ways more relatable.

9. But also not ‘too relatable’ as we go to see a superhero movies for escapist entertainment. Iron Man 3 is by no means a dark and gloomy affair (I don’t know why some reviewers equate this with The Dark Knight) as I don’t think it would fit the essence of Tony Stark if they go that route. There are dark moments to be sure, but the mirthful tone is intact and plenty of geeky gadgetry to keep the superhero geek massively entertained. Black & co. never forgets that at its heart, Marvel superhero movies are popcorn entertainment and on that front, it certainly delivers!

IronMan3_RebeccaHall10. The returning characters are given a bit more to do here. Retiring from directing duties (but still serves as exec. producer), Jon Favreau is quite amusing as the head of security of Stark Industries. I wish Rebecca Hall has more screen time but still, it’s nice to see her here alongside Gwyneth Paltrow (who’s not even the most beautiful woman in this movie, let alone the world, heh). That said, I kind of like that Stark’s love interest is not just a damsel in distress in this one which makes Pepper Potts a bit more interesting than in the previous installments.


Perhaps having a tepid expectations helps me enjoy this more than I otherwise would, as the movie is definitely not without flaws. Just to name a few, the motivation of the super-villain’s descent to madness is too much of a stretch and the loud clanging and bombastic mayhem of the third act can be quite dizzying. But overall, those who haven’t become too cynical or jaded by superhero movies would be hard pressed not to enjoy this one.

Though the iron suit sometimes run out of juice in this movie, thankfully the Iron Man franchise still has plenty of that in its third installment. I wouldn’t rate this as high as other stellar “threequels” like the Bourne Ultimatum, Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade, or Toy Story 3, but it’s certainly a solid addition to the lucrative Marvel canon.


4 out of 5 reels

What did you think folks? Does this one meet YOUR expectations?

Weekend Roundup: Wreck-It-Ralph & catching up on Downton Abbey

Happy Monday all! Well, it’s not quite Spring yet at least not weather wise, even though we’ve sprung forward one hour. That also means we lost one hour this weekend 😦

Downright addicted to Downton Abbey

I’ve only managed to see one movie this weekend, as I’ve been catching up on Downton Abbey. I’ve even dedicated a post on it this weekend, there are just so much to love on that show. I could make an entire post just on Dame Maggie Smith alone (come to think of it, I just might). The acid-tongue Violet Grantham and her unabashed upper-class snobbery is just so amusing. Julian Fellowes really picked the right thespian to deliver those lines! Not only are the quotes memorable, her cantankerous expressions are to-die-for!

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The many faces of the Countess of Grantham

Here’s a clip of the Crawleys at the dinner table and the Grantham’s family’s reaction when Matthew told them he has job as a lawyer. Violet’s ‘Wh.. what is a week-end?’ sums it all, and her delivery is practically iconic!

Well, I would’ve given you a review of Oz The Great and Powerful but I had to miss the press screening last Monday because of the darn snow! Apparently it was a huge hit for Disney, making $80 million bucks at the box office this weekend. Check out my friends Adina’s review who saw it in Indonesia and Terrence’s in New Mexico to see how they like the movie. Seems that both have differing opinions about James Franco’s casting. I’d think Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp who were both offered the role of Oz would’ve been so much better! I do love the three female cast though.

Well, I ended up seeing a movie by Disney as well, Wreck-It-Ralph. Here’s my mini review, I pretty much echo what Cecilia said in her guest review last Fall.

Wreck-It-Ralph

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Doesn’t this poster remind you of Monsters Inc.?

I’ve been hearing a ton of great things about this one and sure enough, it was massively entertaining. The story reminded me a bit of Toy Story at first, but overall it’s got its own unique spin and like a lot of Pixar movies, it offer more than just fun and games, but a heartwarming story as well.

The big burly Ralph is a video game villain of Wreck-It-Ralph. Every day he longs to be loved and accepted like the game’s hero Fix-It-Felix who could fix anything that Ralph has destroyed. He thinks that by getting a big shiny medal like Felix, people would finally accept him.

Now, I’m not a gamer, I can count with one hand how many times I’ve been to an arcade, but I don’t think that lessen my enjoyment watching this movie. Surely people who played the games a lot would get an extra kick out of it, no doubt about that. Visually this movie is just brilliant and spectacular to look at. The concept itself it so imaginative that it was a wholly entertaining ride from start to finish.

The world of Sugar Rush could practically get you on a sugar high just from watching every colorful sweet stuff imaginable. Everything is just sooo darn cute in this universe. Here is where Ralph meets Vanellope von Schweetz who’s a loner and outcast just like him, something about her being a glitch that the King of Sugar Rush forbids her from participating in a go-kart race. Of course it’s no surprise that the two ended up forming an unlikely friendship (isn’t that the best kind?) and their journey together is fun to watch, with a few really moving moments along the way. The last third of the movie is full of action as Ralph & co. tries to stop the escaped Cybug that threatens the livelihood of the whole video game universe. Some of the scenes are pretty intense and kind of gross, I’d imagines the very young kids might be petrified by them.

WreckItRalph_VanellopeThat said, the story has a universal themes love, sacrifice and friendship that every kid and adult can identify with, and who hasn’t felt like an outcast at one point or another? Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is definitely a lovable big guy you can’t help rooting for, and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) is just too cute for words! The relationship between the smitten Felix (Jack McBrayer) and the bad-ass Hero’s Duty heroine Jean (perfectly cast Jane Lynch) is a hoot as well! The music by Henry Jackman is a highlight with all the retro soundtrack that enhances the video game experience.

Wreck-It-Ralph certainly rates as one of the most fun animated features I’ve seen. A far cry from the mediocre and forgettable Hotel Transylvania that started out promising but riddled with too much clichés. I don’t know if it will be as iconic as Toy Story but no doubt it’s a wonderful addition in the massive Disney cannon. It also has a great replay-ability value, a joyful ride the whole family can enjoy over and over again.


4 out of 5 reels


So how’s your weekend viewing looks like? Seen anything good?

10 Reasons why I think The Avengers rocks

How big of a smash hit is The Avengers? Certainly a hulking big one with over $200 mil domestic opening weekend. That number already broke the record of the final Harry Potter film ($169 mil) released last year, and combined with the international earnings, it brought the total worldwide haul to $641.8 million in barely a week and a half, more than its Marvel superhero forerunners Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, and “Captain America took in during their entire runs! [per Yahoo! news]

Whoa! The Disney folks must be having a big party right now as this movie will likely make up at least a quarter of their $4 billion investment to buy Marvel Entertainment back in 2009. Ka-ching, ka-ching!

We finally got to see it last Friday after seemingly everybody on the blogosphere have seen it. We saw it on IMAX 3D and I must say it’s worth every penny!

Instead of a straight-on review, I’m going to list some of the reasons I think The Avengers rocks:

1. Josh Whedon’s marvelous direction. Let’s face it, it takes a capable hand to combine sooo many comic characters and not only make it work but thrive in their collaborations with each other. It’s quite a massive undertaking and even with Whedon’s experience handling a large ensemble cast, it’s still going to be tricky. But after seeing the movie, it’s clear that Marvel did choose the right man for the job!

So you want me to turn green… like right now??

2. How funny this movie is! Ok, from the trailer, I was expecting witty banters and occasional humorous moments, but it’s a pleasant surprise that this film is downright hilarious! Whedon’s screenplay made the most of each of the characters’ antics perfectly and the one liners are even funnier than what you may have seen in the trailers. The theater literally burst out into riotous laughter a number of times, I tell you, this movie is funnier than a lot of movies actually claim to be a comedy.

The scuffle between Iron Man, Thor and Captain America is riotously fun, I was in stitches when Iron Man teased Thor about his cape:

Shakespeare in the Park? Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?”

Ha! That’s probably my favorite line from the movie! Another major highlights is when the Hulk meets Loki and throws him around like a rag doll. When it comes to a superhero movie of this proportion, laughter is definitely a potent weapon and it hits the target squarely in the face!

3. The spectacular cast. I already like the individual casting of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Loki but the additional cast make for a great mix. Robert Downey Jr. is at his top notch wisecracking self, all his scenes with various Avengers team mates are a hoot, especially when he first met Dr. Bruce Banner. Glad to see Clark Gregg a.k.a. Agent Coulson getting some great scenes, including a particularly poignant and memorable one. Though I initially wasn’t too crazy about Scarlet Johansson and Jeremy Renner as Black Widow and Hawkeye respectively, I think both did a fine job. Scarlet holds her own against all the boys and she brought much more depth to her character than what I’ve seen in Iron Man 2.

Was it good for you too?

4. Hulk Smash! I have to create a separate bullet point for the big green giant here. My hubby said that if he had to pick only ONE favorite character from the movie it’d be The Hulk. It’s not necessarily Mark Ruffalo’s performance, I mean he’s good as Bruce Banner, but it’s the CGI-ed character that has the most memorable sequences and whenever he appears on-screen, he practically brings the house down!

5. The impressive set pieces. Just because a movie’s got over $200 mil budget doesn’t always mean it looks good, but The Avengers actually look like it cost a lot to make. For one, the helicarrier which is basically S.H.I.E.L.D’s flying headquarter than can fly AND float on water is just so cool and so are the details regarding each of the character’s attire and um, accessories 😀

I gotta get myself one of those!

Oh and that Stark Tower is ever so sleek! The part when Iron Man landed on it and the whole coming-out-of-the-suit thing is just pure geek-gasm stuff! And here I thought that briefcase suit in Iron Man 2 doesn’t get any cooler, Whedon invents yet another sensational way of Tony putting the suit on the way down from his tower!

State-of-the-art bachelor pad fit for a tech king

6. The solid script. Thought it’s not exactly a deep movie, and those expecting one obviously misses the point, there’s actually enough substance in the story. There is a sensible continuation from the previous films, especially regarding Thor’s brother Loki’s motivation to wreck havoc on earth. The history between some of the characters is explored to a degree, and what this initiative means to each one of them.

7. A worthy villain. Thanks to Kenneth Branagh for casting the RADA graduate Tom Hiddleston who brings so much menace to his role as Loki. He’s a fun villain to watch as he’s quite a tragic character who’s more of a ‘lost creature’ than a deranged maniac, and Hiddleston’s dramatic training is put to good use here. There’s a great scene where he’s channeling Superman‘s Zod in a sort of ‘Kneel before Zod’ moment, and he admitted in an interview that the Christopher Reeve’s Superman films are part of his childhood.

Oooh loki here…

8. The pure adrenaline rush. From the get go when Loki had his grand entrance to earth, the action never lets up. It’s visually thrilling and appropriately bombastic. The sense of humor never left even the final battle scene between the Avengers and Loki’s army, which makes the already electrifying sequences even more entertaining.

9. The dynamic score from Alan Silvestri. Part of what makes a great action movie is undoubtedly the music and this one captures the bravery and heroism theme of the story. It reminds me a bit of the awesome soundtrack of X-Men: First Class somehow, especially in the scene when Magneto lifts the submarine.


10. The celebration of humanity. For a movie about superhero that aren’t all earth-bound creatures, this movie speaks about the courage to stand up against evil and not take a bully lying down. It also has a great message about being a part of something greater than yourself and working together as a team to achieve it. The ‘Avengers Assemble’ phrase has a special significance as despite their initial clashes, they do set aside their differences and end up working well together as a team.

Look up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane… oops wrong movie.

Final Thoughts: It’s always nice when a movie lives up to the hype. It’s hard to suppress your expectation when the reviews are this good (90+% on Rotten Tomatoes with over 200 reviews) but The Avengers definitely merits all that. Now, it’s not flawless however, there are some stuff that are not explained very well, especially regarding the Hulk and how he went from being an uncontrollable monster to someone who could take orders from Captain America in a particularly comical scene, but I’m just so engrossed in all that’s happening that I’m willing to let that go.

In the end, this movie gives you everything you expect in a superhero film and not the ‘guilty pleasure’ variety. As Hiddleston eloquently said in this Guardian article, “…superhero films have much to teach us about faith and humanity – as well as being terrific visual spectacle.” He may be playing the villain, but I think Tom has a firm grasp of what a superhero movie should be about.

Oh and if you haven’t seen this yet, whatever you do, DON’T LEAVE before the final credit scene. Trust me, it’s worth staying for!

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So what did you think, did The Avengers live up to your expectations?  What’s YOUR favorite moment from the movie?