Saturday, March 26, 2016

Black versus Blue. God versus Man. Day versus Night.


There are many things to talk about re: Batman vs Superman. There’s the plot, the acting and the action. I’ll say right off the bat that this movie is good (3.5/5) but it is a bit bloated at times and I definitely believed it could have been trimmed and still succeed as a great superhero movie.


Characters:
First, Batman.
I loved how they introduced Batman’s story without taking up too much time. For those 5 people who were not familiar with Bruce Wayne’s backstory and how he became Batman, it was a great introduction that led us straight into the present-day weary angry Bruce Wayne. He was the one that started the philosophical debate of whether Earth needed a God (a hero) named Superman. “God vs Man,” as Lex Luthor spouts. It’s an interesting debate that sprinkled the entire movie from beginning to end. I believe this was needed in a world where Gods fly from above and hold lightning bolts in their hands. It was well done but took up a lot of screen time. The first half of the movie is focused solely on this debate without too much action as we learn what Superman and his friends have been up to in the last 18 months. It needed to be included but it needed to be trimmed.


Superman.
I loved seeing how Superman has come along in 1.5 years as he and Lois are living together and maintaining what I consider a very mature relationship; in that he doesn’t try to stop her from doing her job and she doesn’t try to stop him from being Superman (when he needs to be). There’s a great maturity and respect that I love about this relationship. And I cannot wait to see where it goes in Man of Steel 2.


Lois Lane.
As much as the critics complain about her always getting into trouble and needing rescue, they forget that it’s just her character, that’s what she does, that’s who she is. She goes after the big stories and gets into trouble. Read a comic book. They stayed true (perhaps to a fault) to her character. But, she always shows us her bravery and courage when fighting the good fight. She never backs down. That’s also her character. I think her character was well-written and the love story of Lois and Clark was portrayed extremely well in this movie. It wasn’t shoved in our faces but it did show us what we already knew; that Superman loves Lois and puts her above all else. That was true to their story and I felt it added to this movie. You can’t have Superman without Lois Lane. She was his voice of reason and hope.


Lex Luthor.
Crazy Lex. Jesse, you did it again. You captured the essence of Lex with a line, a word, a facial expression and a very creepy smile. Luthor’s version of bedtime stories would give adults nightmares. Very well cast. I can’t say enough of this Lex.
Granny’s peach tea? I feel I need to re-watch that scene again as I am certain I missed something very vital to the story. (Relates to the Senate Chamber blowing up – spoiler alert).


Wonder Woman.
I loved Wonder Woman in this movie. I loved how they introduced her story without giving away too much. It certainly sets up well for her own feature movie and makes me very excited for the Justice League Movie. The three SuperFriends fighting Doomsday at the end was pure gold. Wow. Can’t wait for the next movie.


Cameos and Others.
I loved the unexpected cameo of Jonathan Kent. He came at a time when Clark needed his father and it was a wonderful surprise to see him provide his son with wisdom. Martha Kent was also the voice of reason in this movie. More so, as a mother who’s afraid for her son’s safety. She gave us another side of the argument with reason and calm and absolute finality. “You’re either their hero or you’re not.“ Certainly gave Superman pause.


Alfred was delightful as always. A sounding board for his Master when needed and quite the expert at fixing Batman’s toys when Bruce broke them. Which he did a lot. Lol. And than goodness for his sarcasm. This movie is dark and serious and not-so humorous. But Alfred allowed us a little levity once in a while.


Action:
Let’s talk about the action. Good grief. Where to begin. Batman was a tour-de-force in this movie. Most of the fighting belonged to him and it was usually him against many….lol. And, of course, he won..mostly. One of the fights was a nightmare so it probably doesn’t count. But still, have to give credit to the stunt co-coordinators; these fight scenes were intense and off-the-wall. They were really well done. Particularly, the final battle of Batman vs Superman and SuperFriends vs Doomsday. To be fair, Batman cheated. I’m just going to put that out there. The only way to beat Superman was to cripple him with kryptonite. That’s the only way he would’ve won and we all knew it. And so did he. ‘nough said. I really loved how he couldn’t fight Superman once Kent pleaded to save his Mother and literally, in two breaths, became his best friend. That was the best! I never put together the fact that both their Mother’s name was Martha!. Duh. Anyway, apparently that’s all it takes to make two enemies, friends. I buy it.


Now, let’s talk about the ultimate fight (that was clearly stolen from the Death of Superman comic). Clearly. But whatever. It is what it is. And it was spectacular. First, I obviously never knew how strong Wonder Woman was because she held her own while Bruce Wayne was being thrown about like a beach ball (very entertaining to watch). You sometimes forget he’s a human in a metal suit. So, they’re battling it out until…wait for it…Superman has to save Lois…lol. Like, we ain’t got time for that!. But, it‘s ok because she found the spear of Krypton (which is the only thing that will defeat Doomsday). So, ok, take a break from battling DoomsDay and go save her. Because then, you get the spear. And you say goodbye….I can’t even talk about what comes next. Did they really just go there in this movie??? I admit to gasping out loud and holding my hands over my mouth in shock. I did not think they would kill Superman. I did not. Nope. But, and this only came to me later, given that this was DoomsDay vs Superman (and friends), it stands to reason that they would follow the plot of the comic book and kill him off. That’s what happens. And the world would mourn Superman and ultimately decided they wanted their hero back. But, well he’s dead so boo on you. But, hey, at least now they all respect him.


Am I the only one who totally expected Superman to rise from the dead by the end of the movie?? Good grief, the movie just kept going and going and going then I just said well, hell just let him rise from the dead so these last 20 minutes would have been worth it. I mean, it is the weekend to rise from the dead (yikes!) Kind of disappointed it didn’t happen but looking forward to the Clark/Lois reunion in Man of Steel 2 or Justice League (whichever comes first). And I really really need to know how it happens. Didn’t anyone think of taking Superman’s body to the Fortress of Solitude? No? No one? Really?..ok whatever.


Plot:
There were a couple of plot-holes that was conveniently placed. I get Superman figured out who Bruce Wayne was (Batman) but how did Wayne figure out he was Clark when Lois came to his rescue.. . I got so lost. Everyone knew everyone’s else secret identity somehow.. I need to re-watch this movie..lol. And seriously, how did Perry White not know Clark Kent is Superman..the man conveniently disappears for a few days and he doesn’t put it together…not a very good reporter. And, really Kent should be fired…but whatever, he’s conveniently dead so we’ll forgive him.


And how did Lex Luthor find out Clark Kent is Superman? I know he has limitless resources but it would have been nice to hear a line, a conversation or a scene where Luthor discovers the Man of Steel’s real identity. Plot hole much?


There was so much going on in this movie, it definitely deserves a re-watch. I feel Zach Synder tried to fit a lot in this movie and mostly he succeeded. By using Batman as his voice of dissention, he was able to bring God vs Man, hero vs villain to a broader audience. This movie will surely be talked about for a long time to come.


Overall, I thought this movie was enjoyable and definitely set the stage for the future Justice League movie well without shoving it down our throats. It felt like this was the first part of a 3-part movie. The acting was good, the action and cgi were good and the plot was ok. I mean, it’s Lex Luthor wanting to take over the world story all over again so whatever. It’s been done and it was done here too. It was contrived but Lex sold it. Speaking of, Ben Affleck actually convinced me he’s been Batman all this time. He did an outstanding job. I was surprised (pleasantly) and he has good chemistry with Diana Prince. On a side note, doesn’t this Amazon warrior own her own plane? I kind of thought she did.


I need to give a shout-out to the sound and special effects people who make Superman fly. The swooshing every time he flies out or flies in at Mach (whatever it is now) was quite impressive. Literally made me believe that people can fly. There were quite a few stand-out moments in the movie where I cheered, or gasped out loud (in the good way) or just said WOW. There were moments and scenes that took my breath away and sucked me into believing everything that was happening was real. CGI has come a long way. Made me a believer. I can’t say the same about Wayne’s nightmares…those were just odd. Someone explain Bruce Wayne’s nightmares for me. They were very video-gamey like and weird. Very weird. What did it all mean?


Henry Cavill continues to impress, in the first half of the film as he battles his inner demons and, in the second half, as he battles his outer demons…lol. He’s got the dramatic chops and physicality to make Superman work and he does it with style and wit. This movie made me believe that Superheroes are real. And I want to live in that world.


3.5/5


P.S. Was this movie over-the-top? Yes. It relied too too much on dramatic flair to make a point or end a scene. A few eye-rolls were inevitable in such a heavy undertaking where Batman was made to look like a hero and Superman was made to look like a hero, all to great dramatic flair. Zynder has a flair for the melo-dramatic and it shows. I can forgive it as some of his shots were spectacular and mesmerizing. The shot where Superman stands alone in the exploded Senate house was haunting and Cavill was able to calmly display Superman’s anguish and despair in a very quiet and chilling scene. I applaud Synder for this intensely disquieting scene.


The meeting of Batman vs Superman was worth the hype. It was. These two have great on-screen chemistry and they both believed in what they were fighting for. It was definitely worth the wait for the final battle where they team up to fight Doomsday. It felt like Saturday morning watching the SuperFriends take on one of their many enemies and fighting together to save the planet. Ah, the good old days.


Although, to be fair. Batman was mad at Superman for killing innocent people but it seemed to me Batman killed a few too, in the process of killing the enemy. So, he’s kind of a hypocrite. Although, most of his anger was taken out on mercenaries, I still felt like his fight with Superman may have killed some innocent people as well. Just sayin. Kettle –> Pot.


This review was all over the place but then this movie was too. It certainly would have helped to edit some of the scenes and make them shorter or put them in different places. This movie could have flowed better overall but, much like Avengers: Age of Ultron, it tried to do too much but still gave us some great action and acting. I’ll be seeing it again. What did you think?


Thursday, August 13, 2015

live your best life

This has never resonated so deeply with me lately. I've lost 3 people to cancer in the last year and my mother is currently living with breast cancer. I wonder if these people all lived their best life. Did they do everything they wanted to in the years they were alive?

I don't know.

I don't have the answer to that question or a dozen more that follow that one.

 I guess the only thing I can do is ensure I live my best life. Do what makes me happy. That's all I can do.

Which is why I tattooed those 4 words on my ankle on a whim. I needed a daily reminder that life is short and I need to make the best of it.

 So, here I go.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Chocolate is addicted to me


Chocolate has a serious obsession with me. Every time I look around, all I see is chocolate – chocolate cookies, chocolate cake, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate chocolate!...argh. It’s in my drawer, on my desk, by the coffee machine, in my purse, by the laptop, in the fridge...I feel it is calling to me and laughing at me at the same time.

I think chocolate’s obsession with me started when I was a child when my parents introduced me to my very chocolate snack (we all blame our parents, you know you do!) and my love-hate relationship with chocolate started. This obsession carried me through the various rites of passage of high school – the good grades, the bad grades, the gossip, the tryouts for various sporting activities, the really hilarious but unsuccessful attempts at cooking in home economics, thesis writing, PROM and the big day - graduation (where we were not valedictorian and we didn’t want to be but secretly we did). Oh chocolate, how you consoled me during those turbulent years!

And then, came college. College. Really, that word alone sends me back through the wormhole of time to moments that were fun, tedious, stressful, blissful, happy, miserable, daunting, painful and triumphant. I think that pretty much describes College. ‘Nough said. Not enough chocolate to go around.

And then, reality sets it. The 9-5 job. The routine of commuting, working, working out, seeing friends, cleaning house, cooking, watching tv, laundry - the sheer dreariness of finding out that a 9-5 existence is tedious and boring and monotonous and [fill-in-the-blank-with-appropriate-adjective]. The days merged into weeks and the weeks merged into years. Thank goodness there was chocolate!

Now, many years later, life is flowing along nicely. There are still routines (some dull, some not so dull), passions are pursued, time with friends are cherished, work is something you do between 9am-5pm so that you can do what you really want from 5pm-12am. Food is enjoyed not rushed, music is listened to not criticized, yoga is used for meditative purposes not just for gossip and laughs.  Family time is cherished time. And, through it all, my true friend and companion Chocolate, has stayed by my side and in my desk and in the glove compartment and in the fridge and...

Oh, Chocolate! How you get me. Sometimes I think I keep the chocolate industry in business all by myself. And I’m ok with that. 

Oh, look at the time! Please excuse me. It’s time for my friend Chocolate and I to catch up.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mount Kilimanjaro: Here I climb!

Climbing for those who can't.

I am climbing Mt. Kili this coming January to support a worthwhile organization. As such, I am reaching out to all my friends, family, colleagues and perfect strangers to ask for a kind donation and to help me reach the top.

It's a great cause and will be an amazing journey.

Thank you!
NABS Canada ‪#‎KiliClimbForNABS‬

Donate Link:
https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=2626927#&panel1-1



Mount Kilimanjaro

Monday, May 26, 2014

Godzilla Review

Godzilla was a thoroughly entertaining movie. 

For me, it was a smart movie. This is how the military should react when confronted with oversize monsters wrecking havoc on their city. Of course, they're not going to listen to the scientist who knows best, but still it was well-written and well-acted.


My only beef was the overlay of cheesy music swelling every time Godzilla hit the screen (enough! already) but overall, entertaining, and the monster fights were done well (without going overboard).

This movie played some good psychological games with your mind as remnants of Jurassic Park came to mind as some scenes played out much like they did in that movie (cue to scene of men lying silently on train track as monster roars by beside). People died, people were saved and everyone cheered at the end.

See. It. You won't be disappointed.

X-Men: Days of Future Past Review

While I really enjoyed seeing the old and new cast of the X-Mens series in one movie, I felt as if the majority of the movie was not about "The X-Men" but really about 4 people trying to change their fate. For a movie that should encompass a group of individuals working together to fight evil, this movie was surely lacking in that respect.

Not to say there wasn't any teamwork. The older X-Men fighting the Sentinels in the future definitely serve up our "fight" quota for the movie. But it just felt like that was missing from the present when most of the present was being used to get the "gang" back together (really just a couple of people) and stop the ultimate act that would bring on the Sentinel attack in the future. For a revitalized X-Men sequel, it was seriously lacking the new 'X-Men'.


That aside, kudos to James McAvoy who, I feel, stole the movie. His defeat and anguish of letting down his X-Men was apparent throughout as he struggled to regain his belief that humans and mutants can co-exist together and that all was not lost. His scene with Patrick Stewart was one of the highlights for me. It was great to see him hold his own, and then some, against one of the great thespians of our time. I really wanted to see more of them together…alas.


The fights that were showcased were brilliant, something you would expect from a Bryan Singer movie - over-the-top, explosive, dramatic, intense and satisfying. Jennifer Lawrence manages to really grapple with Mystique's crisis of faith throughout. My one complaint was that Wolverine took up way too much screen time (I understand that this was the logical choice to go back in time) but still, this movie should have been centered on the new X-Men and I just feel he has too much screen time. If I wanted to see a movie about Wolverine, I'd go watch a movie about Wolverine.


The time-travel story worked well and I enjoyed, and was amused, that this movie essentially wiped out everything that happened in X-Men: The Last Stand (haha).  So, everything's back to normal..uh huh. Well, I supposed if you're going to re-write history, do it in style. I do have one lingering question: how did Magneto get his powers back?…I guess we are meant to believe that the mutant cells are still in our mutant heroes and they would eventually come back. I do remember the scene with the chess board so…ok, I can accept that only because of the fact that his powers are used quite awesomely in this movie.


I cannot say enough about QuickSilver. Every time I laughed out loud, QuickSilver was in the scene. While James McAvoy won the drama award in this movie, Evan Peters stole the comedy award. He was absolutely brilliant and his scenes were impressive(!), to say the least. He will be a welcome addition to the third X-Men instalment.


All in all, an entertaining film. I fangirled over all these amazing actors in one movie even though I felt deprived of seeing any of their characters fleshed out or have any really story. I kinda felt they should have done an after-credit scene where the older X-Men give their younger counterparts advice. That would have been hilarious.


This movie definitely makes up for that uninspiring 3rd X-Men outing (The Last Stand - I'm looking at you) and certainly primes things up for the next Wolverine movie as well as the next X-Men movie. A bit of revisionist history in this movie will be interesting to see how it plays out in future films. Much like Captain America 2 changes things for all Marvel movies going forward, this movie will change things for all X-Men movies (some might say for the better).


Go See It.

Sandra

I just about cheered excitedly when Bobby morphed into IceMan and sprayed out a sheet of ice that he skated on as he fought the Sentinels. So cool! Man did that bring back memories of watching cartoons on Saturday mornings! While I've seen Storm, Cyclops and Frog all use your abilities before, it was nice to see some new mutants (at least none I've seen on screen) showcase their awesome abilities (I'm looking at you Blink and Warpath!). Looking forward to seeing more of them in future films.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Captain America 2 Review

Captain America is a thoroughly entertaining movie. Long review follows. No big spoilers (just minor ones).

First, the bad. This movie suffers slightly from taking on too much and over-exposition, particularly one scene where the movie felt it needed to re-hash the plot from the first Captain America movie. As the scene unfolds, the story was revealed in a way that lent itself to this movie in a plot-twisty sort of way that actually made its' inclusion make sense.

There were a few slow parts but that didn't detract from the movie, in fact it allowed us to take break in between incredible! fight sequences and over-the-top action scenes. This also allowed time for our characters' struggles to be showcased as these would play out through the rest of the movie.

Each main character has great personal development stories that built upon past movies and will have an impact on their future roles. Director Fury has his biggest role to date with a particularly great action scene and some fantastic line delivery that only Samuel L. Jackson could pull of.

There were quite a few scenes reminiscent of the Avengers that had me asking (out loud), " Where is Iron Man?" lol…quite a bit happens in this movie that had me wondering where Tony Stark was, as plot developments in this movie surely would have an impact on his life. Yes, I am aware it is called Captain America.

It remains to be seen how the effects of this movie will play out in future Marvel movies (as it will surely have an impact), the results of which we will see immediately on the tv show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

It was great to see Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier, and the aforementioned plot re-hashing from the first Captain America goes a long way to explain how 'Bucky' is alive and well in the 21st century. Kudos to the writers who created scenes from the past to showcase the unwavering friendship between Steve and Bucky. They added a bittersweet tinge to the rivalry between them in the present.

The big thing that really stood out for me was the unprecedented fight sequences. You could tell a lot of long hours went into ensuring realism in the combat-style fights that Captain America takes part in throughout the movie. Not one, not two, but three huge Captain America fight scenes that left me cringing and looking away. You can tell Steve Rogers has been putting in some serious training. This is not a kid-friendly movie, the level of violence being upped tremendously in this second outing with the body count rising by the minute as the movie unfolds.

But, once the movie is over and you have time to breathe, you realize the moral of the movie (the price of freedom equals great sacrifice) was really delivered upon with all the death and destruction. The movie advocates choice and freedom but never becomes preachy. It's enthralling, edge of your seat entertainment and nail-biting.

I want to see this movie again just for the action scenes alone as they sometimes took my breath away. The best part is watching Captain America don his (original) suit and getting that no-nonsense look in his eyes as he blazes into battle. I cheered out loud quite a few times.

My only caveat is I don't think it's worth seeing this movie in 3D as some of the earlier fight scenes get lost in the distraction of watching them in 3D. Other than that, really fun outing and definitely setting up for a great third act for this great American hero.

Stick around for two end-credit scenes that set up nicely for the Avengers sequel and the eventual Captain America Act III movie.