A Few Film Reviews

So I went on a trip to Europe recently, and had a grand total of 4 flights. That meant enough time for some of the films that I wanted to watch, but not enough that I would care that I’m watching it on the small screens of the in-flight entertainment systems.

I can’t remember most of the pertinent details of each film, so I thought I might as well bring all my thoughts on them into one single post.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

As per reviews I’ve seen online, this was just…eh. There seemed quite a bit of potential from the trailer, but it ended up being kind of mediocre.

I had expected far more fireworks between the two male leads who were supposed to be enemies and contrasting characters, but all they did was exchange really bad lines. There was no chemistry between any of the characters, and everything just felt so staged and rehearsed.

The Russian character was incredibly confusing, since he was supposed to be awkward KGB, yet knew enough about women’s fashion to argue with the American spy. Said American spy was pretty lacking in the charisma his character demands too, which rendered everything just…meh.

And that relationship hints about the Russian and the German girl? Terrible. It failed to develop properly, stood out like a sore thumb, and just made the film feel stupid.

Plot? Meh. Ending? Meh. Everything was just meh.

Mr. Holmes

I love Ian McKellen, and I love Holmes, so it’s no surprise I would want to watch Mr. Holmes. His acting is top notch, of course, but the film relied heavily on flashbacks, which I dislike.

Unlike the Holmes adaptations that Guy Ritchie produced (who did a fair job with them unlike what he did with The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), this was altogether a far more subdued movie. It plodded along slowly, and it felt like the unexplained conflict between the housekeeper and Holmes was more central to the film than Holmes’ dementia at times.

I did like how the plot slowly evolved and conflicts eventually got resolves, but given the slow nature of the film and the various flashbacks, the earlier parts of the film felt unnecessary and the resolutions felt lacking. But crucially, it didn’t make me feel for any of the characters.

Maggie

I loved the premise when I saw the trailer. It’s a brilliant take on the well-worn path that is zombies. Zombie apocalypses usually focus on survivors and their dramas, but there’s a lot more in play when the victims take weeks to transform and everyone has to deal with the situation in their own ways.

The film was generally okay, anchored mostly by a great Arnold Schwarzenegger who showed off acting chops that were mostly overshadowed by his action movie career thus far. He played the awkward, foreign, loving father so well, it felt like the film was lost when the focus turned more to his daughter than him. I really hope he’ll keep taking up such roles and become the reverse of Liam Neeson, who started with dramas and ended up an action hero.

The ending was far more lame than I had expected though. It would have been great to see Arnie have to kill his daughter and deal with the emotional fallout, but the focus had been turned fully to how his daughter was coping by then, so the film naturally ended with her. The suicide scene didn’t leave an impact with me though; it should have been shown more directly to really hammer home the feels.

Minions

Despicable Me made these guys lovable, and this movie was a blatant commercial move. The premise was okay, the plot was mediocre, and while it’s an okay family film, it just doesn’t stand up to any critical scrutiny. The minions themselves are tiresome once you’ve watched their repetitive antics for 20 minutes, the human characters came across as annoying rather than quirky, and it just didn’t entertain me like some other great family-oriented animations.

It’s all just mediocre. I loved the minions as a supporting cast of bumbling helpers, but not as the main protagonists. Gru is much more compelling as a lead.

Insidious: Chapter 3

Watched this only because my newly made friend on the tour loves horror and convinced me to watch it with her. She never finished it, but I did.

I wish I didn’t.

Never watched the earlier ones, and after this, I never will. Terrible film from start to finish. The family conflict is boring, staged and terribly written. The internal conflict of the medium was bad. The plot was horrible. The final ‘fight’ was dumber than rocks. The acting range for all the actors in the film combined was smaller than a teaspoon. The awful ‘action sequences’ were an affront to both action and horror.

And worst of all?

I saw EVERY scare that came, and NONE of them made me react. There was zero tension because it was so predictable, and without suspense, the film just fell apart. Horror is a genre that’s hard to get right, and I’m a sceptic given my preference for more plot and character driven movies rather than just cheap scares and an adrenaline rush. And even then, this failed to elevate my heart rate even a little. What a bomb.

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