Maleficent (2014)

MaleficentMaleficent (2014)

Rating: 7.5/10 from42,099 users
Director: Robert Stromberg
Writers: Linda Woolverton, Charles Perrault
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley
Genres: Action, Adventure, Family

A vengeful fairy is driven to curse an infant princess, only to discover that the child may be the one person who can restore peace to their troubled land.

Warning, this review contain spoilers!

I think most of you familiar with legend of Sleeping Beauty. A princess whom cursed by an evil witch so that on her 17th birthday she will prick her finger by spindle and goes into deep sleep (supposed to die). This time Disney remake the story with the evil witch as the center of the story. Giving us more insight about who Maleficent (the evil witch) was.

Maleficent was a resident of Moors Kingdom, a kingdom filled with magical creatures. One day young Maleficent met with a young kid who try to steal something from Moors. They grow fond of each other, but had to seperate because Stefan wants to make a living in the human’s castle.

Several years later, the king of human’s kingdom try to invade Moors. This attempt successfully thwarted by Maleficent. Angered by his failure the king said that whoever can kill Maleficent will be married to his daughter and become the heir of the throne. Tempted by this offer Stefan come the Moors. Maleficent did not aware of Stefan intention, but instead of killing her, Stefan only cut Maleficent’s wing and bring it back to the King. Betrayed by Stefan, Maleficent become angry and want to take revenge once she recover.

With that kind of back story Disney want to change the evil persona of Maleficent into a good witch, and the human are the bad guy. I think Disney make a good job in the story. Especially Maleficent’s portrayal by Angelina Jolie. She really did a great job on the character. The special effect of the creature also great. Most of the people whom disappointed by the Movie are those who grow up with the original fairy tale. They complain that the movie didn’t stay to the original story. If you don’t mind with some change, Maleficent (2014) is a great family movie.

The Originals (2013-….)

The OriginalsThe Originals

Rating: 8.7/10 from 29,667 users
Creator: Julie Plec
Stars: Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, Phoebe Tonkin
Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Series will focus on The Original family of vampires from Vampire Diaries.

The Originals is a spin-off from the popular TV Series The Vampire Diaries (2009-….). The Originals are the first vampire created, so the vampire now days are their descendants. They were the main villain in The Vampire Diaries, until they gain more popularity and CW decide to make their own series. Both series share the same universe, so some events in The Originals season 1 and The Vampire Diaries season 5 sometimes linked. The character also sometimes visit the other series.

The Originals family consist of, Esther (the mother) which is a witch, Mikael (the father), Elijah Mikaelson (the eldest), Finn Mikaelson, Niklaus Mikaelson, Kol Mikaelson, and Rebekah Mikaelson. Some of them already dead in The Vampire Diaries story. The Originals tells the story of the remaining originals in New Orleans. It was the city that they build in 1919 but then had to flee from it for some reason. New Orleans inhabitants consist of 4 faction, vampires, witches, humans, and werewolves. Each aware of the others presence. The New Orleans nowdays run by Marcelus, the vampire which turned by Niklaus, and Niklaus intend to take it back. Niklaus character is interesting to watch. He fall into the anti-hero type, who can be ruthless to anyone, but in the end he will do whatever it takes to protect his family.

Compared to The Vampire Diaries that focused in teenage drama, The Originals is, borrowing someone else phrase, more matured. It is more about the attempt of each faction to take over the city, making the alliance, backstabbing the ally, making war with the enemy, and else. The story is not as great as the first season of Vampire Diaries, The Originals is better than current season of Vampire Diaries, which getting more cliche. Although The Originals can stand on it’s own, for viewer who wants more deep knowledge about The Originals should watch The Vampire Diaries.

Godzilla (2014)

GodzillaGodzilla

Rating: 7.3/10 from 88,671 users
Disrector: Gareth Edwards
Writers: Max Borenstein, Dave Callaham
Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-fi

The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

Warning, this review contain spoiler!

This Godzilla movie is the Hollywood version of the Japanese monster, though it’s not their first movie about it. I’ve never watch any Godzilla movie before, so I watch this movie without any expectation.

The movie started with a background story in 1954, detonation of nuclear bomb. It’s is not clear to whether it caused the appearance of Godzilla, or it is an attempt to kill it. In the 1999, there are two important events. First, is when Japanese scientist played by Ken Watanabe come to Philippine to investigate the radioactive occurrence. He found a giant skeleton of prehistoric creature and two cocoon. Unfortunately one of it is escaped to the sea. The second event is in Janjira nuclear plant, Japan. Bryan Cranston as the head of the plant observe unusual seismic activity. Bryan Cranston order her wife to investigate it. During investigation, the seismic activity increased, causing radioactive leak. The Janjira plant is destroyed, and Bryan Cranston failed to save his wife, leaving him with their small kid.

Fifteen years later, when Bryan Cranston and his kid Aaron Taylor-Johnson trying to find answer of the Janjira event, they found out that the plant, which supposed to be a quarantine area, still active. Apparently, the escaped cocoon making it’s home in Janjira. Ken Watanabe researching the MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) while protected by military. Suddenly the cocoon become active. It hatched, destroying the place and then fled.  This MUTO activity awaken Godzilla from it’s deep slumber. While the military making plan to fight this MUTO, Ken Watanabe believe it would be pointless. The only hope they have is to let Godzilla, the top chain ancient predator to fight it.

In this movie, the villain is MUTO, and Godzilla act as some kind of anti-hero. The Godzilla itself didn’t appear antil the last half of the movie. This made many people, who wants to see Godzilla in action disappointed. I’m okay with this, because at the first half, the movie display an excellent human drama. The acting of Bryan Cranston is really amazing. I cannot say the same for the other two, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Ken Watanabe, such a waste of a big movie star. Though Godzilla appear late, his appearance still amazing. Godzilla really show his power. Well, I’m quite pleased with this movie.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

XMen-DOFPX-Men: Days of Future Past

Rating: 8.7/10 from 45,875 users
Director: 
Bryan Singer
Writers: Simon Kinberg, Jane Goldman
Stars: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

Warning, this review contain spoiler!

X-Men: DOFP is the 7th installment movie of the X-Men universe, including X-Men Origin: Wolverine (2009) which for me is a mess in the several character timeline. It’s a sequel from X-Men: First Class (2011) which was meant for a reboot of X-Men series. But with this DOFP, First Class didn’t appear to be a reboot anymore. The first clue is when they cast Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen to reprise their role as Prof. X and Magneto. Next is The Wolverine (2013) which set the timeline after X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), and then it’s post credit scene where Prof. X and Magneto asking help from Wolverine. The third clue of course the title it self. Bryan Singer trying to connect the dots between X-Men trilogy and First Class with time travel flavour.

The story begin in the future where world is in chaos. Many people (or a mutant maybe) die, being killed by the Sentinel. Then the scene move to the battle between Sentinels and Mutant Resistance. Here you will witness the power of Kitty Pride, Iceman, Bishop, Colossus, Blink, Sunspot, and Warpath. They lost, but Kitty Pride able to send Warpath Bishop back in time so he could warn the other and thus prevent the battle from happening.

After that Prof. X accompanied by Magneto, Wolverine, and Storm arrive at the resistance hideout. Prof. X reveal the primary event which leads to this dark future. Which is, the killing of Dr. Bolivar Trask, the head of the Sentinel program, by Mystique. This led to realization that mutants is a danger and they need Sentinel program to fight them. Mystique that got captured become guinea pig to expand Sentinels ability. So, they need Kitty Pride to send someone back in time to stop and save Mystique. The time travel method can destroy the one who is sent, so the only one who can make it is the indestructible Wolverine. Once again Wolverine become the hero of X-Men story, hahaha. So the adventure of Wolverine in the past time (some time after X-Men First Class) begin.

Generally, X-Men: DOFP is great. The main character development, the battle scene is great. But I have one problem that disturb me throughout the movie. I think the story contain a plot hole. In the DOFP Mystique is captured and experimented on. So, how come she is able to escape and then appear on the X-Men trilogy, and the most important thing, how come Mystique didn’t warn Magneto or other mutants of the danger of Sentinel program for them. I need some explanation in this.

Aside from that, in DOFP there are two mutants that caught my attention. The first is Blink, her power is to create portals, so she can for example create a portal to misplaced enemy’s projectile. This ability is awesome, especially when she combine it with other mutants ability. Next is Quicksilver, well, his appearance surprise me, because Quicksilver will appear in The Avengers sequel, so I’m surprised the he appear in DOFP. But worry not, from what I read, there will be no connection between X-Men’s Quicksilver and Avenger’s Quicksilver. His ability to move with supersonic speed is great especially combined with his fun personality.

The Sentinels that I read from my childhood comic book is different from DOFP’s Sentinel. Before, the Sentinels is a huge robot, but now, it is slim and smaller. However this new Sentinels have more creepy look, and the ability to change power to overcome Mutants power. That’s more dangerous.

As usual, there is a post credit scene that show someone with a great power. I suspect he/she is the main villain in the next movie, X-Men: Apocalypse (2016).

 

Argo (2012)

Argo (2012)Argo (2012)

Rating: 7.9/10 from 241,207 users
Director: Ben Affleck
Writer: Chris Terrio, Tony Mendez
Stars: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman
Genres: Biography, Drama, History

Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980.

The genres of this of movie is not the kind of movie that I usually watch. However, i have 2 reason for watching it. Last year this movie receive Oscar for The Best Motion Picture of the year. Another reason would be the recent cast of Ben Affleck as the new Batman. I’m one of those guys whom disappointed by this news. So I’m watching his performance in Argo to help me judge him better.

After watching this movie, I think it’s too simple to receive an Oscar. I haven’t watch all of the nominee, but I think Life of Pi (2012) is better than Argo. First half of the movie felt more like a documentary video than a movie. The final moment when Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) try to get 6 Americans out of the Iran felt cheap, like the thrilling moment of Indonesia’s soap opera. Ben Affleck performance as Tony Mendez is flat. I can’t feel the emotion of a guy who’s under pressure to save 6 Americans. I don’t know whether Tony Mendez is like that, or maybe Ben Affleck is just suck.

Batman, versi modern dari Zorro

The Mask of Zorro (1998)The Mask of Zorro (1998)

Rating: 6.7/10 from 88,636 users
Director: Martin Campbell
Writers: Johnston McCulley, Ted Elliot
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins
Genres: Action, Adveture, Romance

The elder Zorro trains his replacement to fight the enemy Montero.

Beberapa hari yang lalu saya mendownload film The Mask of Zorro (1998). Saat menonton film ini saya menyadari satu hal, “wow, konsep Zorro ini mirip dengan konsep Batman”. Atau mungkin konsep Batman yang mirip dengan Zorro, karena Zorro muncul lebih dulu. Akhirnya ketika saya membaca trivia film ini di IMDB, ternyata memang Zorro itu salah satu sumber inspirasi dari Batman. Apa saja persamaan mereka?

Double life. Identitas asli Zorro adalah Don Diego de la Vega, seorang bangsawan spanyol, tetapi memakai topeng Zorro untuk membela rakyat. Seperti Bruce Wayne yang kaya raya dan memberantas kejahatan di Gotham. Agar tidak dicurigai sebagai Zorro, Diego de la Vega menyembunyikan kemampuannya berpedang, dan alih-alih dia menaruh minatnya pada seni, dan hal-hal yang dilakukan bangsawan-bangsawan lainnya.

Butler. Keduanya memiliki seorang pelayan setia. Zorro memiliki Bernardo, dan Batman memiliki Alfred.

Secret cave. Ternyata Zorro juga memiliki gua rahasia. Tempatnya berlatih, dan tempatnya menyembunyikan peralatan-peralatan Zorro-nya. Gua ini terhubung dengan kediaman Diego de la Vega.

Deception. Zorro dan Batman tidak mengandalkan kekuatan otot saja untuk melawan musuhnya, tetepi menggunakan deception (penipuan, pengalihan) dalam melawan musuhnya. Ketrampilan akrobat Zorro dan kecepatannya digunakannya untuk melawan musuh memanfaatkan area sekitar mereka bertarung.

Help Signal. Jika di Batman ada Bat-Signal, lampu sorot yang bersimbol Batman untuk meminta pertolongan Batman, maka di Zorro cara yang digunakan lebih tradisional. Di film Zorro loceng gereja akan dibunyikan 5x untuk meminta pertolongan Zorro.

Hero as a symbol. Seperti Batman Trilogi versi Christopher Nolan, Zorro adalah sebuah simbol pelindung kotanya. Karena itu Zorro bisa siapa saja. Pada film yang saya tonton, Diego de la Vega yang sudah tua meneruskan posisi Zorro kepada Alejandro Murrieta.

Film The Legend of Zorro (2005) dimana Alejandro Murieta melanjutkan posisinya sebagai Zorro tidak menuai sukses seperti pendahulunya. Menurut saya juga The Mask of Zorro (1998) lebih bagus. Dan saat saya baca berita, ternyata Hollywood berencana me-reebot film Zorro (Zorro Reborn), dengan setting yang lebih futuristik.

2013 movie watchlist

~ January ~


Gangster Squad (2013)

01Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writers: Will Beall, Paul Lieberman
Stars: Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
Genres: Action, Crime, Drama
Release Date: 11 January 2013 (USA)

A chronicle of the LAPD’s fight to keep East Coast Mafia types out of Los Angeles in the 1940s and 50s.

 

 


Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunter (2013)

02Director: Tommy Wirkola
Writers: Tommy Wirkola, Dante Harper
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare
Genres: Action, Fantasy, Horror
Release Date: 25 January 2013 (USA)

In this dark spin on the fairy tale, siblings Hansel and Gretel are a formidable team of bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world.

 

 


Movie 43 (2013)

03Director: Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill
Writer: Will Carlough, Greg Pritikin
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone, Chloe Grace Moretz, Gerard Butler
Genres: Comedy
Release Date: 25 January 2013 (USA)

An ensemble comedy intertwining different tales. (USA)

 ~ February ~


A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

04Director: John Moore
Writers: Roderick Thorp, Skip Woods
Stars: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
Release Date: 14 February 2013 (USA)

John McClane travels to Russia to help out his seemingly wayward son, Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working to prevent a nuclear-weapons heist, causing the father and son to team up against underworld forces.

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