Movie Review: Rush

RUSH

This review also appears on Movie Blogbuster.

Rush is the ultimate frenemy story. It’s the biography of two F1 drivers- James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl), narrated by Lauda. The movie starts halfway through the film at a significant turning point in the story line before going back to the beginning of their rivalry. Their first encounter will show you that they were never destined to get along. Their personalities were polar opposites- Hunt was free-spirited and ‘wild’, while Lauda was level-headed and clever with car mechanics. Over time, it became less about the sport and more about each one outdoing the other on the race track, as they both moved up the ranks of Formula 1. Their goal to be the best and competitive obsession with each other transformed both Hunt and Lauda to the worst versions of themselves.

This film is quite different than other Ron Howard films (A Beautiful Mind, Angels and Demons, Frost/Nixon), and is my favorite by far. It strikes the perfect balance between sport and biography, through a suspenseful storyline without compromising on character depth. I was particularly impressed by Bruhl’s performance; he did a very good job of making Lauda unlikeable. The film provokes the thought of whether being the best- being Number One- is really worth risking it all, and really put the concepts of rivalry and respect into perspective.

Rating: If you’re a F1 enthusiast, you’ll definitely appreciate this film. And if you’re not (like me), I guarantee you’ll love it; it might even get you to buy a pass to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. I give it 5 Oi’s out of 5.

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Movie Review: 2 Guns

2 guns

This review also appears on Movie Blogbuster.

When it comes to action movies, I tend to go in without any expectations, mostly because I like a good story and many in the genre lack this. 2 Guns is no exception. It’s about a couple of guys and Trench and Stig (played by Denzel Washington and Mark Walhberg respectively) who plan to rob a sleepy small-town bank of $3 million dollars.

Like in all my reviews, I try not to give too much of the plot away, but there’s more to these two than meets the eye and that’s the first twist to the movie. The plot thickens when Trench is framed and Stig is on the run for his life. But then halfway through- once the grand scheme is revealed- the story quickly goes downhill. It’s a pretty far fetched conspiracy theory with a weak execution. The only female lead of sorts, Agent Deb Rees- played by the gorgeous Paula Patton- is nothing more but a pretty face with a role that didn’t really add to the story. She presented an unnecessary twist to the plot that I guess the writers quickly realized and decided to kill off. Pity, really. The format of the film started off pretty cool though (back and forth in the story timeline), but didn’t continue, which I also thought was a shame because it could’ve helped the weak storyline. The humor and dialog between Denzel Washington and Mark Walhberg make up for all of the story weaknesses though as they’re both very talented and gave me a lot to laugh about. They should do more movies together!

This is not a serious action movie by any means. It’s almost like Pulp Fiction (if it wasn’t written or directed by Quentin Tarantino) meets The Boondock Saints- I’m a fan of both those movies, but together they make a weak combo.

Rating: Drugs, money, guns, explosions, and witty dialog- it’s an entertaining watch. I give it 3.5 out of 5.

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Meet Agnes

Agnes

After seeing Dolores survive this long with me, I decided to get another plant. This is Agnes- she is Dolores’ cousin, twice removed.

She is living in one of Dolores’ old homes, which I’m sure she doesn’t mind lending now that she has her new awesome self-watering pot! I think they’ll get along great, and they’ll keep each other company (like cats do…it’s almost the same thing, right?).
Agnes is a different kind of plant than Dolores, Phyllis and Phyl (RIP guys), so taking care of her might be a little different. Once I look up all the information on the gardening forum and consult with the plant doctor, I’ll post up more info on Agnes’ journey.
Exciting times!
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Dolores update (status: not dead)

I haven’t posted about Dolores since I first got her, and many people (myself included) thought she’d be dead by now, following the deaths of Phyl and Phyllis. But she is alive and well! Surprising, I know, and I’ve learned a few things about Dolores while taking care of her. For one thing, she hates it when there’s new soil in her pot and quiet places. So I added extra fertilizer to her soil and took her to the office to sit at my desk; she totally loved the big windows and banter around her. Now she’s back at home sitting by the window, and I keep the TV on while I’m away so she doesn’t get lonely. I think it’s working because she’s grown out of her old pot!

Here’s Dolores in her new home:

 

I’m very happy that she hasn’t died on me. Maybe I’m not a serial plant killer after all.
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Movie Review: The Wolverine

The-Wolverine This review also appears on Movie Blogbuster 

I’m a big fan of Wolverine, and the X-Men too, and I’ve enjoyed all the past movies- yes, even X-Men III and X-Men Origins: Wolverine- so I was looking forward to seeing The Wolverine. But I came out with mixed feelings.

Without giving too much away, the story is set in modern day Japan and is linked to someone from Logan’s past during the war. It’s also a continuation from X-Men III, where Jean is dead and he’s still not over killing her.

The storyline showed Wolverine’s vulnerabilities and brought out his character on a deeper level than the other films, since there were only a couple of other mutants in the film. But it was still weak, especially with the main antagonist’s grand plot and the ‘love’ story- how can you still be getting over Jean and fall for someone else? It didn’t make sense to me and it felt like they just tossed that bit in there. It was also more mellow than the usual style of X-Men movies, despite all the exciting action scenes- I think ninjas tend to have that effect.

At one point I really didn’t know what will happen to The Wolverine, and that’s really how the movie kept me interested. That, and the ‘secret’ scene after credits; it’s definitely worth watching the movie for those couple of minutes alone- your mind will be blown, guaranteed.

Rating: I give it 3.5 Oi’s out of 5

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Movie Review: White House Down

white-house-down-image08

This review also appears on Movie Blogbuster.

White House Down is a typical American ‘Die Hard’-esque action film; it’s a story about an ex-army guy, John Cale (Channing Tatum), who went into private security but his dream is to be part of the Secret Service. He’s also divorced, and has a daughter who hates him but obsessed with politics. So to win his daughter over, John manages to get two tickets to the White House tour and takes her along. Then the terrorist attack strikes and, well, I think you know how it goes from there…

Don’t get me wrong, I liked every Die Hard film so I enjoyed this film too, but like I wrote earlier it’s your typical sequence of events- the Bad Guys, the President, the One Guy At The Wrong Time And Wrong Place But Right Background Who Saves Everyone And Looks Good The Whole Time, and Lots of Explosions. The dialogues between Jamie Foxx (the President) and Channing Tatum were giggle-worthy, but the storyline and characters were very flat so you can’t really take the political angle seriously. Still, it’s an entertaining film to watch.

Rating: I give it 3 Oi’s out of 5.

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Movie Review: Side Effects

side-effects-image09

This review also appears on Movie Blogbuster.

Anything by Steven Soderbergh is a treat for me, and this movie did not disappoint. It’s one of those great movies that somehow end up flying under the mainstream radar.

Side Effects is about a clinically depressed woman, Emily (Rooney Mara), who is started on new medication prescribed to her by her therapist, Jonathan (Jude Law). After an incident, it’s discovered that the medication has a sleepwalking side effect. One day, her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) comes home and she kills him while sleep-cooking (bizarre, I know). When she wakes up, she discovers his body- she’s not aware that this was her doing just yet- and remembers nothing of the incident. As a result of the inquisition, Jonathan’s career goes downhill, while Emily goes to a psych ward for treatment.

The story gets really interesting from there as Jonathan works on uncovering the many layers of Emily to understand how this could have happened, in a desperate attempt to absolve himself of any wrongdoing.

Rooney Mara and Jude Law are absolutely superb in Side Effects, and Catherine Zeta Jones’ makes an impact in her small yet very significant role in the plot. There are a few unexpected twists and turns in the story, and it’s been a really long time since I’ve seen a film this good. But then again, I wouldn’t expect anything less from Soderbergh.

Many girls would probably go see this flick for Channing Tatum, in which case they’re going to be disappointed because his role is actually pretty small. But if you’re into suspense and mystery, you will thoroughly enjoy this film.

Rating: While you might not be able to catch it in theatres now, it’s worth getting on DVD or catching it on VOD. I give it 5 Oi’s out of 5.

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Movie Review: Oblivion

oblivion-tom-cruise

This review also appears on Movie Blogbuster.

Oblivion is basically Eagle Eye, Independence Day, I Robot, Vanilla Sky, and Wall.E all badly rolled into one story for this movie.

It’s about post-apocalyptic Earth, where it’s left in ruins because of an Alien War. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise- they really need to find new non-Jack names for his lead characters) is the last repairman for the drone that are out there scanning the Earth for ‘Scavs’ (i.e. enemy aliens). He still has a fascination with the ‘old Earth’ though, and has a little hideout shack where he takes little trinkets he finds (Wall.E anyone?) and goes to chill out. He also has this recurring dream of this woman, and he just can’t figure it out. On one of his trips, something drops on Earth and he decides to go and find out what happened- against HQ commands mind you. He uncovers several pods with- *gasp*- humans in them! And lo and behold, in one of the pods is the woman in that recurring dream. The drones are in the area and they start shooting at the pods, which Jack finds strange because they’re supposed to be going after Scavs, not humans. All of them are destroyed except for the one with the woman, who Jack saves and takes back with him. From there he starts uncovering all sorts of stuff, until he gets to the truth of who he really is, and who the woman is, and what ALL OF THIS IS REALLY ABOUT. At which point, they half redeem themselves with the storyline, but then they screw it up again when they go into space, and the ending puts that final nail in the coffin.

The soundtrack and production value are incredible, but it hardly makes up for the weak storyline.

Rating: This is the first movie where I actually swore out loud at the screen. It had so much potential- *sigh* that’s Hollywood for you. I give it 2 Oi’s out of 5.

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Movie Review: Lincoln

Lincoln-675x430

This review also appears on Movie Blogbuster.

This is one movie I know everyone has been looking forward to, and it does not disappoint. The movie is about the last chapter of Abraham Lincoln’s life and the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery during the American Civil War. The overall style and flow of the movie reminded me a lot of Iron Jawed Angels (2004, starring Hilary Swank). The scenes showing the debates about the amendment and the final vote were incredibly suspenseful, however I felt that his assassination was rushed towards the ends. I think if they actually showed him getting assassinated or gave it a bit more attention than wrap it up in 5 minutes it would’ve been better.

Daniel Day-Lewis did a phenomenal job as President- from his voice to mannerisms to how he walks- but what surprised me the most was Tommy Lee Jones’ performance as Thaddeus Stevens. He was just incredible to watch throughout the film and moved me the most.

Rating: Overall it’s a great film that lives up to the hype. I give it 4 Oi’s out of 5.
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