Galaxy Quest (1999): A Guilty Pleasure

Galaxy Quest Movie Poster

 

 

Synopsis:

 

The alumni cast of a space opera television series have to play their roles as the real thing when an alien race needs their help.

 

Guilty Pleasure Qualities:

 

Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and Tony Shalhoub at the top of their game. Top-notch special effects. Hilarious script. Good pace.

 

Guilty Pleasure Level:

 

Moderate (Revisited once every two years)

 

Director:

 

Dean Parisot

 

Cast:

 

  • Tim Allen (as Jason Nesmith)
  • Sigourney Weaver (as Gwen DeMarco)
  • Alan Rickman (as Alexander Dane)
  • Tony Shalhoub (as Fred Kwan)
  • Sam Rockwell (as Guy Fleegman)
  • Daryl Mitchell (as Tommy Webber)
  • Enrico Colantoni (as Mathesar)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 42 minutes

 

Genres:

 

Action / Adventure / Comedy / Sci-Fi

 

Stills:

 

Galaxy Quest Movie Still 1
Galaxy Quest Movie Still 2
Galaxy Quest Movie Still 3
Galaxy Quest Movie Still 4
Galaxy Quest Movie Still 5

 

 

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Interstellar (2014): A mini-review / بين النجوم (2014): نقد فني مختصر

Interstellar Movie Poster

 

 

Review / نقد فني مختصر

 

 

Ever since The Dark Knight Rises elegantly tied up his landmark Batman trilogy almost three years ago, there was a lot of excitement and intrigue surrounding Christopher Nolan's next project, Interstellar. Well, after watching it a few days ago, it is safe to say that this is yet another winner from one of cinema's modern maestros. With a truly star-studded cast, a complex-yet-gripping screenplay, and simply majestic direction, Interstellar is not only one of 2014's best films, but one of the greatest films ever made.

One of Interstellar's winning factors is its wonderful cast. Lead by Matthew McConaughey, an actor in the midst of a terrific run of roles both on film and television, the motion picture is filled with characters who come to life immediately and connect powerfully with the audience, thanks to the actors. McConaughey's character, Cooper, is a complex man who is growing ever restless with the world, pushing himself to explore the wilderness that is outer space. An urge for exploration that takes him through what can only be described as one of cinema's most thought-provoking and mesmerizing journeys. Other excellent roles in the film that deserve mention include those of Anne Hathaway (Brand); Jessica Chastain (Murph); Michael Caine (Professor Brand); Mackenzie Foy (Young Murph); and one more superb casting decision that I hope will entertain viewers with their well-timed presence as much as they did me.

The film's strongest asset, though, is without question its director Christopher Nolan. Working with a script co-written by his brother Jonathan Nolan, Christopher is able to concoct a science-fiction motion picture that builds on all the classics that came before it. Indeed, Nolan not only builds on them but creates a unique vision that honors those films whilst keeping his directorial style intact. Interstellar is also blessed with multiple well-shot scenes that are awe-inspiring and utterly breathtaking, mainly thanks to Nolan and his cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema.

Ultimately, it is Interstellar's sheer love for adventure and exploration that drives it forward and keeps viewers mesmerized during its nearly three-hour runtime. Director Christopher Nolan once again cements his position as one of cinema's grandest visionaries with a motion picture that is unlike anything we have seen. It does share a lot with previous classics, particularly Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), but is brave enough to go further and give us all the chance to stare into space with all its majesty and wonder about its many mysteries. And because of that, Interstellar will continue to be relevant and cherished by all film lovers for decades to come. A magnificent cinematic triumph.

 

منذ قيام المخرج المبدع كريستوفر نولان بانهاء ثلاثيته الخاصة برجل الوطواط بأسلوب أنيق و ذكي منذ ما يقرب ثلاث سنوات، كان جمهور السينما متشوق لمشاهدة مشروعه الفيلمي التالي “بين النجوم” و الذي حاطته السرية و الغموض التام، كعادة أفلام هذا المخرج. ولكن بعد مُشاهدتي للفيلم، تيقنت ان كريستوفر نولان هو حقاً أحد أهم السينمائيين الذين أنتجتهم هوليوود في الفترة الحديثة. هذا الفيلم الرائع يجمع كوكبة من نجوم السينما، سيناريو غني و سلس، و اخراج مبدع، مما يجعل “بين النجوم” ليس فقط أحد أفضل أفلام 2014، ولكن واحداً من أعظم الأفلام التي شاهدتها على الإطلاق

من العوامل الرئيسية التي جعلت فيلم “بين النجوم” بهذه الجودة العالية هي مجموعة الممثلين المميزين التي شاركت فيه. بقيادة ماثيو ماكونهي، وهو الممثل الذي يعيش أفضل فتراته الفنية من خلال اختياره لأدوار ممتازة سواء في السينما او التلفزيون، يتمكن الفيلم من إظهار شخصيات واقعية عديدة و التي يتفاعل معها الجمهور طوال أحداث الفيلم. يلعب ماكونهي شخصية 'كوبر'، الرجل المعقد الذي يتزايد قلقه من الأحداث التي تجري في العالم مما يدفعه لاستكشاف الفضاء الخارجي المجهول. هذه الرغبة الجارفة لمعرفة ما يخبئه الفضاء تأخذ فضول 'كوبر' الى واحدة من أكثر الرحلات الشيقة و المثيرة للتفكير في تاريخ السينما. الأدوار الأخرى الجديرة بالذكر في فيلم “بين النجوم” هي آن هاثاواي (في دور 'براند')؛ جيسيكا شاستاين (في دور 'مورفي')؛ مايكل كين (في دور 'البروفيسور براند')؛ ماكنزي فوي (في دور 'مورفي' الطفلة)؛ هذا بالإضافة الى دور سري يقوم به ممثل موهوب يظهر من خلاله في وقت مهم من أحداث الفيلم بطريقة ملفتة و مؤثرة للغاية

بكل تأكيد يبقى أهم عنصر في نجاح فيلم “بين النجوم” هو المخرج العبقري كريستوفر نولان. يقوم نولان بنسج فيلم خيال علمي مبتكر يمجد من خلاله الأفلام الكلاسيكية التي سبقته بأسلوب راقي و من خلال سيناريو ذكي و محكم كتبه كريستوفر مع أخيه جوناثان نولان. كريستوفر لا يفعل ذلك فقط و لكنه يخلق رؤية سينمائية فريدة تكرم تلك الأفلام الخالدة مع البقاء على أسلوبه السلس و المبهر. بالإضافة الى ذلك، فإن فيلم “بين النجوم” محظوظ بإمتلاكه مشاهد خلابة عديدة تذهل المشاهدين و تحبس أنفاسهم، بفضل إدارة المخرج نولان مرة اخرى و المصور السينمائي للفيلم، هويت فان هويتيما

في نهاية المطاف، فإن رسالة فيلم “بين النجوم” المحبة للمغامرة والاستكشاف هي التي تبقي على اهتمام المشاهدين طوال مدة عرضه التي تقرب الثلاث ساعات تقريبا و التي تؤكد مرة أخرى براعة مخرجه كريستوفر نولان و حقيقة أنه واحدا من أساتذة السينما الذي صنع هنا فيلم روائي لا مثيل له. هذا الفيلم بلا شك استفاد من الكلاسيكيات السابقة، ولا سيما فيلم ستانلي كوبريك الأسطوري “2001: أوديسا الفضاء” (1968)، ولكنه يذهب أبعد من اي فيلم آخر في إعطائنا الفرصة للانغماس في عالم الفضاء الساحر و المليء بالعديد من الأسرار. وبذلك، سيستمر “بين النجوم” بكونه فيلم جدير بالمشاهدة من قبل جميع محبي السينما لعقود كثيرة قادمة. إنه ببساطة عمل سينمائي الرائع

 

MATM Rating | تقدير مو و الأفلام

 

 

Director | المخرج

 

Christopher Nolan / كريستوفر نولان

 

Trailer | إعلان الفيلم

 

 

Outstanding performances | الأدوار المميزة

 

Matthew McConaughey (Cooper) / ماثيو ماكوناهي في دور كوبر

 

Runtime | مدة الفيلم

 

2 hours and 49 minutes / ساعتين و تسعة و أربعون دقيقة

 

Rating | تصنيف الفيلم

 

PG-13 / ليس لمن دون سن الثالثة عشر

 

Genres | نوعية الفيلم

 

Adventure / Science-Fiction | مغامرة / خيال علمي

 

Stills | لقطات الفيلم

 

Interstellar Movie Still 1
Interstellar Movie Still 2
Interstellar Movie Still 3
Interstellar Movie Still 4
Interstellar Movie Still 5
Interstellar Movie Still 6

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): A mini-review | حراس المجرة (2014): نقد فني مختصر

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Poster

 

 

Review | نقد فني

 

This must have been quite the big risk. Marvel Studios, who successfully launched a whole host of their iconic comic-book superheroes – Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, to name just a few – onto the silver screen over the past few years, take a substantial gamble by kicking-off a new franchise full of unknown characters, actors, and story-lines. It could have been a multi-million dollar disaster but, thankfully, their gamble has paid off wonderfully, making Guardians of the Galaxy one of 2014’s most entertaining and exuberant cinematic experiences so far.

Under the supervision of director James Gunn, a relative unknown himself with no major acclaimed film to his name, Guardians of the Galaxy is able to capture viewers’ attention from the very first frame. Bolstered by an impressive and catchy 1980s-inspired soundtrack, the film instantly gives off an air of fun and enjoyment that it miraculously manages to sustain throughout. Gunn truly does a masterful job in introducing the main characters of the film – Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) – allowing each of them enough space to connect and resonate with the audience. It is simply a fantastic effort from a director who will surely look to keep the spotlight on him in coming years.

Special effects in Guardians of the Galaxy naturally take center stage, especially since two of the film’s main characters – Rocket and Groot – are entirely computer-generated imaginations. How James Gunn’s technical team has been able to give incredible life and spirit to both of these characters remains a wonder to me, and certainly to many viewers as well. They have done a superlative job in making sure film-goers are unable to keep their eyes away from two characters who are soon to join the ranks of cinema’s most charismatic and memorable characters ever. Brilliant work all-around.

Launching a brand new franchise was always going to be a daunting task. However, director James Gunn makes it all seem too easy and passes with flying colors. He has delivered a motion picture that is not only for comic book fans, but one that any lover of cinema will surely enjoy. Guardians of the Galaxy deftly mixes drama, comedy, science-fiction, and action, resulting in a non-stop, two-hour roller-coaster ride that comes highly recommended for any film lover. An astonishing achievement, indeed.

 

بعد إطلاق استوديوهات مارفل لسلسلة أفلامها الأبطال الخارقين ‘الرجل الحديدي’، ‘ثور’، و ‘كابتن أمريكا’ – و اللاتي جميعها لاقت نجاحاً باهراً سواء من قبل النقاد او الجمهور – فإنها هنا تقوم بمخاطرة كبيرة بالفعل بإطلاق سلسلة افلام جديدة مليئة بشخصيات مغمورة يقوم بأدائها ممثلين شباب من خلال قصص غير مألوفة. كان من الممكن أن تكون هذه المغامرة كارثة فادحة تؤدي الى خسارة الاستوديو ملايين الدولارات، ولكن، لحسن الحظ، إنها كانت مغامرة محسوبة حيث أن فيلم “حراس المجرة” رائع بالفعل و يعد بلا شك من أفضل و أكثر التجارب السينمائية تسلية و متعة في 2014 حتى الآن

مخرج الفيلم جيمس غن – الذي بدوره غير معروف حيث انه لم يخرج اي فيلم سابق لاقى اهتماماً يذكر – و قد نجح من خلال فيلم “حراس المجرة” في جذب انتباه المشاهدين بشكل لافت، الأمر الذي عززته موسيقى الفيلم المستوحاة من أغاني عقد الثمانينات المؤثرة و الحيوية. استطاع الفيلم من بث جو مليء بالمرح والمتعة طوال عرضه مما يثير الإعجاب حقاً. يقدم المخرج عملاً بارعاً في تقديم الشخصيات الرئيسية في الفيلم – ‘بيتر كويل’ (كريس برات)، ‘جامورا’ (زوي سالدانا)، ‘روكيت’ (صوت برادلي كوبر)، و ‘غروت’ (صوت فين ديزل) – و قد تمكن من منح كل شخصية المساحة الكافية للتواصل مع الجمهور و التأثير فيه. جهد رائع من مخرج ننتظر منه الكثير بالتأكيد في السنوات المقبلة

المؤثرات البصرية في “حراس المجرة” تستحوذ بالطبع على الاهتمام الأكبر و هي عامل رئيسي في نجاح الفيلم، خاصة و أن اثنين من الشخصيات الرئيسية في الفيلم – ‘روكيت’ و ‘غروت’ – مصمما بالكامل بفضل أحدث تكنولوجيا المؤثرات البصرية. تمكن الفريق الفني للمخرج جيمس غن من إعطاء الحياة و الروح لكلتا الشخصيتين بطريقة مذهلة تثير الإعجاب حقاً. أتوقع انضمام ‘روكيت’ و ‘غروت’ الى مصاف الشخصيات السينمائية الخالدة ذو الكاريزما العالية

إطلاق سلسلة سينمائية جديدة و غير معروفة دائما ما تكون مهمة شاقة. ومع ذلك، فإن المخرج جيمس غن يجعل كل المصاعب و التحديات تبدو سهلة جداً و ينجح في تجاوزها جميعاً. فيلم “حراس المجرة” ليس فقط لعشاق افلام الشخصيات الخارقة، ولكنه فيلم ممتاز قادر على إمتاع كل محبي عالم السينما. هذا الفيلم المميز يمزج ببراعة الدراما والكوميديا ​​والخيال العلمي والحركة و لا تتوقف أحداثه الشيقة طوال ساعتين كاملتين. إنه إنجاز مذهل بالفعل

 

MATM Rating | تقدير مو و الأفلام

 

 

Director | المخرج

 

James Gunn / جايمس جان

 

Trailer | إعلان الفيلم

 

 

Outstanding performances | الأدوار المميزة

 

Chris Pratt (Peter Quill) / كريس برات في دور بيتر كويل

Zoe Saldana (Gamora) / زوي سالدانا في دور جامورا

Bradley Cooper (as the voice of Rocket) / برادلي كوبر كصوت روكيت

Vin Diesel (as the voice of Groot) / فين ديزل كصوت جروت

 

Runtime | مدة الفيلم

 

2 hours and 1 minute / ساعتين و دقيقة

 

Rating | تصنيف الفيلم

 

PG-13 / ليس لمن دون سن الثالثة عشر

 

Genres | نوعية الفيلم

 

Action / Adventure / Science-Fiction | حركة / مغامرة / خيال علمي

 

Stills | لقطات الفيلم

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Still 1

 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): A mini-review

 

Synopsis:

 

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.

 

Review:

 

This is quite the big risk. Marvel Studios, who successfully launched a whole host of their iconic superheroes – Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, to name just a few – over the past few years, take a substantial risk by kicking-off a new franchise full of unknown characters, stars, and story-lines. It could have been a multi-million dollar disaster but, thankfully, their gamble has paid off and easily delivered one of 2014's most entertaining and exuberant cinematic experiences so far.

Under the supervision of director James Gunn, a relative unknown with no major acclaimed film, Gaurdians of the Galaxy is able to capture viewers' attention from the very first frame. Bolstered by an impressive and catchy soundtrack, the film instantly gives off an air of fun and enjoyment. Gunn does a masterful job in introducing the main characters of the film – Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) – allowing each of them enough space to connect and resonate with the audience. A fantastic effort by a director who will surely look to keep the spotlight on him in coming years.

Special effects in Guardians of the Galaxy naturally takes center stage, especially since two of the film's main characters – Rocket Racoon and Groot – are entirely computer-generated imaginations. How James Gunn's technical team has been able to give incredible life and spirit to both of these characters remains a wonder to me. They have done a superlative job in making sure viewers are unable to keep their eyes away from two of cinema's most charismatic and fascinating characters ever. Brilliant work.

Launching a brand new franchise was always going to be a daunting task. However, director James Gunn has passed with flying colors. He has delivered a motion picture that is not only for comic book fans, but one that any lover of cinema will surely enjoy. It deftly mixes drama, comedy, science-fiction, and action, resulting in a non-stop, two-hour roller-coaster ride that comes highly recommended for any film lover. An astonishing achievement.

 

MATM Rating:

 

 

Director:

 

James Gunn

 

Trailer:

 

 

Outstanding performances:

 

  • Chris Pratt (Peter Quill)
  • Zoe Saldana (Gamora)
  • Bradley Cooper (as the voice of Rocket Racoon)
  • Vin Diesel (as the voice of Groot)

 

Runtime:

 

2 hours and 1 minute

 

Rating:

 

PG-13

 

Genres:

 

Action / Adventure / Science-Fiction

 

Stills:

 

 

X-Men Days of Future James McAvoy Hugh Jackman Professor X Wolverine scene 3

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014): A mini-review

X Men Days of Future Past Movie Poster
 

Synopsis:

 

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.

 

Review:

 

The X-Men movies are usually seen as the first series of comic-book-based movies to properly introduce the general audience to the world of superheroes at the beginning of the 21st century. The first two films in particular, X-Men (2000) and X-Men 2: X-Men United (2003), laid the groundwork for all future superheroe movies that would come later, with some even bettering those two pioneering X-Men films. The latest addition to the X-Men series, X-Men: Days of Future Past, builds on that history and delivers a terrific motion picture that easily makes it the best X-Men movie to date and one of 2014's standout motion pictures.

Director Bryan Singer (X-Men, X-Men 2: X-Men United) once again demonstrates how deeply he understands these characters and knows how to showcase them in a strong and gripping manner that provides great entertainment. Working with a wonderful, smart, and witty script written by Simon Kinberg, Singer's controlled pacing throughout the film really makes the action standout whilst also giving a lot of attention towards building the diverse characters especially in major scenes such as the Quicksilver sequence, the battle at Washington D.C., and the epic final showdown. Singer also brings back the eclectic ensemble cast that has helped elevate X-Men: Days of Future Past to greatness. Returning acting talents – Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr), James McAvoy (Charles Xavier), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven / Mystique), Patrick Stewart (Professor X), Ian McKellen (Magneto) – in addition to the newcomers – Evan Peters (Quicksilver), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde), and Peter Dinklage (Dr. Bolivar Trask) – play their respective roles extremely well and seamlessly establish the emotional connection with the audience, something that many superhero movies have failed to do. All of these aspects clearly show a director at the top of his game. Simply superb work from Bryan Singer.

One of the most powerful themes I have found in the X-Men movies is how being different could make one an outsider amongst his or her society because their community is not used to something so unfamiliar. This is a very strong theme that all the X-Men films have explored but X-Men: Days of Future Past takes things a step further and gives us a profound narrative that stays with us long after the credits roll. It is not only the best X-Men movie to date, but also one of the best superhero movies ever made. It is right up there with the genre's greatest – The Dark Knight Trilogy, Spider-Man 2, and The Avengers – as it does what these classics have done so well; it surpasses the confines and limits of the superhero genre and becomes something much, much more. X-Men: Days of Future Past has that right mix that makes it a film that all movie-goers can strongly feel, experience, and respond to. An exceptional piece of cinema that needs to be seen by everyone.

 

MATM Rating:

 

 

Director:

 

Bryan Singer

 

Trailer:

 

 

Outstanding performances:

 

  • Hugh Jackman (as Logan / Wolverine)
  • James McAvoy (as Charles Xavier)
  • Michael Fassbender (as Erik Lehnsherr)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (as Raven / Mystique)
  • Ellen Page (as Kitty Pryde)
  • Peter Dinklage (as Dr. Bolivar Trask)
  • Evan Peters (as Peter / Quicksilver)
  • Ian McKellen (as Magneto)
  • Patrick Stewart (as Professor X)

 

Runtime:

 

2 hours and 11 minutes

 

Rating:

 

PG-13

 

Genres:

 

Action / Adventure / Superhero

 

Stills:

 

X-Men Days of Future James McAvoy Hugh Jackman Professor X Wolverine
X-Men Days of Future Michael Fassbender Magneto
X-Men Days of Future James McAvoy Hugh Jackman Professor X Wolverine Scene 1
X-Men Days of Future Jennifer Lawrence Raven Mystique
X-Men Days of Future James McAvoy Hugh Jackman Professor X Wolverine Michael Fassbender Eric Magneto Evan Peters Quicksilver
X-Men Days of Future James McAvoy Hugh Jackman Professor X Wolverine scene 3
X-Men Days of Future James McAvoy Hugh Jackman Professor X Wolverine Michael Fassbender Eric Magneto Evan Peters Quicksilver Still 2
X Men Days of Future Past Patrick Stewart Ian McKellen Magneto Professor X

 

Godzilla (2014): A mini-review

Godzilla 2014 Movie Poster

Synopsis:

 

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

 

Review:

 

Ever since Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim first premiered last year, the ‘monster movie’ sub-genre has seen quite the revival boasted by encouraging responses from critics and audiences alike. This year’s monster movie of choice, Gareth Edwards’s Godzilla remake, looks to continue that surprising run as it too succeeds in delivering a superbly entertaining action film.

After the miserable failure of the 1998 reboot, many expected this latest Godzilla remake to flop and not live up to expectations but it does so, in spades. Edwards’s direction is top notch as his camera does an admirable job in bringing the massive action set-pieces to life and in a highly realistic manner, allowing his audience to be engaged and lose themselves to his intense and adrenaline-inducing film. There are also many actors who stood out for me in Godzilla: Bryan Cranston (Joe Brody) as the deranged man who goes to incredible lengths to uncover the ‘truth’; Ken Watanabe (Dr. Ishiro Serizawa) who depicts the caring scientist looking for a deeper meaning in all the chaos that has inflicted the world; Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ford Brody) depicting Joe’s son who has long been scarred by his father’s psychotic episodes and looks to focus solely on the well-being of his young son and wife, the latter played very well by Elizabeth Olsen (Elle Brody).

Though the human characters still left some room for development, it is the special effects of the monsters that takes center stage here, and rightfully so. The visual effects team working with Edwards are able to give us viscerally-real and frightening monsters that strike the right amounts of fear and fascination with viewers; basically, the action scenes in Godzilla are nothing short of jaw-dropping. A lot of respect needs to be given to Edwards for the fact that he opts to build the tension with the audience and only revealing the monsters at the right moments, making all that wait and anticipation pay off in the best and most effective of ways. Simply put, Godzilla is a highly-entertaining summer blockbuster that is much more than just a continuous explosion of special effects. It is a really good movie.

 

MATM Rating:

 

 

Director:

 

Gareth Edwards

 

Trailer:

 

 

Outstanding performances:

 

  • Bryan Cranston (as Joe Brody)
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson (as Ford Brody)
  • Ken Watanabe (as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa)
  • Elizabeth Olsen (as Elle Brody)

 

Runtime:

 

2 hours and 3 minutes

 

Rating:

 

PG-13

 

Genres:

 

Action / Adventure / Science-Fiction

 

Stills:

 

Godzilla 2014 cinematography
Godzilla 2014 cinematography still 2
Godzilla 2014 Bryan Cranston Aaron Taylor-Johnson Joe Ford Brody
Godzilla 2014 Ken Watanabe
Godzilla 2014 cinematography still 3
Godzilla 2014 cinematography still 4

 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014): A mini-review

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Movie Poster
 


Synopsis:

 

Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of supervillains against him, impacting on his life.

 

Review:

 

I was one of those who were quite pleasantly surprised by 2012's Spider-Man reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man. Starring a whole new cast, most importantly with Andrew Garfield taking up the lead role from the original trilogy's Tobey Maguire, the first film of the new trilogy really did deliver a lot of entertainment, energy, and fun I did not expect. The good news is that its sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, takes all of those positive elements and establishes itself as a worthy follow-up. Once again, the chemistry and natural charm between both Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/Spider-Man) and Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy) are key factors of the film's success. There is just an electricity between the two that allows them to flourish, making their scenes shine and work convincingly well. Another stand-out performance in the film is that by Dane DeHaan, who plays the dual roles of Harry Osborn and Green Goblin. I have been a big fan of DeHaan's since his breakout role in Chronicle (2012) and find his work here to be on-par with that performance, if not better. He is easily one of Hollywood's best young talents active today.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 also benefits from a more focused direction from Marc Webb who manages to juggle the three villains' storylines rather well, giving each of them enough time to deliver their backstories by pacing the film admirably well. He also manages to make this two-hour-plus motion picture fly by without letting the feeling of boredom settle within his film's viewers. There are enough action scenes here as well as comedic moments that will make everyone happy, which is a credit to Webb.

I must admit I had feared that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 could have ended up being like Spider-Man 3, a film that got lost in the midst of trying to give justice to the three villains as well as Spider-Man but failed to do so. Thankfully, Webb has passed that challenge with flying colors, delivering a very good sequel in what is shaping up to be another noteworthy superhero trilogy. Needless to say, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is definitely worth a watch.

 

MATM Rating:

 

MATM Rating Three and half stars

 

Director:

 

Marc Webb

 

Trailer:

 

 

 

Outstanding performances:

 

  • Andrew Garfield (as Peter Parker / Spider-Man)
  • Emma Stone (as Gwen Stacy)
  • Dane DeHaan (as Green Goblin / Harry Osborn)

 

Runtime:

 

2 hours and 22 minutes

 

Rating:

 

PG-13

 

Genres:

 

Action / Adventure / Superhero

 

Stills:

 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Andrew Garfield Spider-Man Still 1
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Andrew Garfield Spider-Man Still 2
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Jamie Foxx Electro
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Andrew Garfield Peter Parker Dane DeHaan Harry Osborn
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Andrew Garfield Spider-Man Paul Giamatti Rhino
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Andrew Garfield Spider-Man Jamie Foxx Electro Scene 2
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Andrew Garfield Spider-Man Still 4
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Andrew Garfield Spider-Man Dane DeHaan Green Goblin
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Green Goblin Dane DeHaan Gwen Stacy Emma Stone
 

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990): A Guilty Pleasure

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Poster

 

Synopsis:

 

A quartet of mutated humanoid turtles clash with an uprising criminal gang of ninjas.

 

Guilty Pleasure Qualities:

 

Admirable if outdated use of special effects. Corny dialogue. Lovable characters. Shredder. Runtime is just right. Easy to rewatch several times.

 

Guilty Pleasure Level:

 

Moderate (Revisited once every two years)

 

Director:

 

Steve Barron

 

Cast:

 

  • Judith Hoag (as April O'Neil)
  • Elias Koteas (as Casey Jones)
  • Josh Pais (as the voice of Raphael)
  • David Forman (as Leonardo)
  • Brian Tochi (as the voice of Leonardo)
  • Leif Tilden (as Donatello)
  • Corey Feldman (as the voice of Donatello)
  • Michelan Sisti (as Michaelangelo)
  • Robbie Rist (as the voice of Michaelangelo)
  • Kevin Clash (as the voice of Splinter)
  • James Saito (as The Shredder)
  • David McCharen (as the voice of The Shredder)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 33 minutes

 

Genres:

Action / Adventure / Comedy

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): A mini-review

 
Captain America The Winter Soldier Movie Poster


Synopsis:

 

Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.

 

Review:

 

I have to admit that I was not overly impressed with Captain America: The First Avenger, which premiered back in 2011. It might have had an interesting lead in Chris Evans as the titular character but I found the film to be a conventional, tired, and unsurprising affair, one I hoped not to experience again with its sequel. Gladly, not only is Captain America: The Winter Soldier a much better film, but I would already rank it amongst the best superhero films I have seen in recent years.

The characters, namely the heroic Captain America (Evans), intelligent Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), witty Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and sinister Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) are fully fleshed-out that they provide viewers with a far more engrossing movie experience than the original ever did. The story, too, is a political thriller wrapped around a superhero universe that has expanded impressively well since the instant-classic The Avengers (2012). Captain America: The Winter Soldier's narrative progresses steadily without losing a single beat and drives the plot towards an explosive, twist-filled finale that has left me smiling and nearly breathless. Directing duo, and brothers, Anthony and Joe Russo deserve a round of applause for being able to let the film flow as smoothly and briskly as it does. They not only gave their actors the required space to flourish, but also made every scene count, with plenty of well-choreographed fights and exciting action set-pieces ensuring audiences are kept gripped to the screen.

I am quite surprised by how much I ended up liking this movie but I think it has done more than enough to warrant such high praise. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is surely not to be missed by any film-goer and is already one of 2014's earliest contenders for action film of the year.

 

MATM Rating:

 

 

Directors:

 

Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

 

Trailer:

 

 

Outstanding performances:

 

  • Chris Evans (as Steve Rogers / Captain America)
  • Scarlett Johansson (as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow)
  • Samuel L. Jackson (as Nick Fury)
  • Robert Redford (as Alexander Pierce)

 

Runtime:

 

2 hours and 16 minutes

 

Rating:

 

PG-13

 

Genres:

 

Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi / Superhero

 

Stills:

 

Captain America The Winter Soldier Still 7 Chris Evans
Captain America The Winter Soldier Still 6 Chris Evan Scarlett Johansson
Captain America The Winter Soldier Still 5 Chris Evans Samuel L Jackson
Captain America The Winter Soldier Still 4 Chris Evans Robert Redford
Captain America The Winter Soldier Still 3
Captain America The Winter Soldier Still 2 Robert Redford Samuel L Jackson
Captain America The Winter Soldier Still 1
 

 

Aliens (Special Edition) (1986): A Great Films review

 
Aliens Movie Poster

 

In 1979, Ridley Scott released his horror classic Alien and changed the way science fiction movies would be made forever. His brilliant mixing of a razor-sharp script, brilliant performances, especially from Sigourney Weaver, and ground-breaking special effects all combined to deliver a spell-binding film that continues to impress critics and regular film-lovers alike. It must have seemed to be a daunting challenge for anyone to take all the impressive facets the film has achieved and deliver a worthy sequel. But, it is a challenge that director James Cameron not only accepted but excelled at. Through Aliens, Cameron further enhanced the story set by the original and added his own unique mix of special effects, witty dialogue, as well as space for his talented cast to deliver superb performances. That beautiful blend is what undoubtedly makes Aliens a great film.

 

Aliens Cast Sigourney Weaver Michael Biehn

The cast of Aliens

 

Aliens stars Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, as well as William Hope, and is directed by the visually-gifted James Cameron. The story takes place nearly six decades after the events of the original Alien (1979) where the previously-undiscovered planet is now colonized and filled with families looking to make life there possible. However, a well-equipped rescue team is deployed to the planet after a horrific incident takes place, looking to face whatever danger lurks within it. Aliens is an action adventure science-fiction motion picture that runs for two hours and thirty-four minutes.

 

Sigourney Weaver Ellen Ripley Aliens 1986

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley

 

Without a doubt, the powerful and influential performance Sigourney Weaver gives as heroine Ellen Ripley is a key factor in the success of Aliens. Reprising the role that made her a star in the original Alien (1979), Weaver is spot-on once again in this defining role that one cannot imagine the movie without her. Ripley, awoken some fifty years after the traumatic events aboard the “Nostromo”, is now a wounded and cynical woman who deeply suspects those around her. Weaver is able to transmit all of the conflicting emotions superbly and with such ease in a manner I find quite astonishing. She builds on her character's strength from the original film and manages to keep viewers transfixed in every scene. There are only a handful of great female heroines in cinema history and Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley is right on top of that list.

 

Aliens The Final Showdown Sigourney Weaver 1986

A still from Aliens

 

Weaver's Ellen Ripley is joined by a formidable and colorful supporting cast that make Aliens an entertaining adventure. There is the young and abandoned child Newt (Carrie Henn); the charismatic Corporal Dwayne Hicks (Michael Biehn); the sinister and conniving Carter Burke (Paul Reiser); the intelligent and calculating android Bishop (Lance Henriksen); and the energetic and sarcastic private Hudson (Bill Paxton). All of those characters are brought alive by the well-selected actors who, each in their own way, contribute in providing Aliens with a constant stream of enjoyable scenes. They, as with Weaver, help make this motion picture the beloved classic it is.

 

Aliens Special Effects 1986 Stan Winston

Ripley and 'Newt' confront 'Mother'

 

Perhaps the film's most valuable asset is director James Cameron. After all, it is Cameron who envisioned this unique and vastly different sequel to Ridley Scott's original. He has not only made the sequel a no-holds-barred action extravaganza, but also took the time to make sure he and his writing team develop each character, allowing audiences to fully connect with them. His pacing of the movie is incredible, specially on the extended version, as there are no moments wasted on side-plots or needless dialogue. Indeed, Cameron's control of Aliens is so tight and concise that one marvels at how easily the two-plus hours pass. A defining feature of any great classic.

Of course, one cannot also forget the terrific special effects at play in Aliens. Working with the visual effects team led by the legendary Stan Winston, James concocts disturbing and engrossing creatures that are not only beautiful to look at, but functional and aiding to his vision of Aliens. There are so many scenes that showcase the effects but if I had to choose one it would be the final showdown between Ellen Ripley and 'Mother', the breeder of the alien army. That entire scene is hypnotic and pure cinema magic that one will surely never get tired of. Needless to say, Winston and his talented team have given us marvelous visual effects that were not only before the days of computer-generated graphics, but are able to stand the test of time.

 

Aliens 1986 Special Effects Still 2 Stan Winston

One of visual effects master Stan Winston's creations

 

Whenever one comes to think of the best action films that have graced the silver screen, James Cameron's Aliens is most definitely one of the first films that spring to mind. Featuring an exquisite mix of superb acting, top-notch directing, a tight script, and gorgeous visual effects, this sequel is a cinematic marvel, to say the least. Not only does it prove once and for all that sequels can equal the brilliance of their original, but also do the unthinkable by surpassing them. I greatly admire Alien and Aliens and enjoy each for quite different reasons, which is a wonderful thing. And like what Ridley Scott achieved, James Cameron has created a motion picture that ages gracefully, continuing to inspire awe some thirty years after it first premiered. And for that, it deserves to be called a great film.

 


Trailer:

 

 

Director:

 

James Cameron

 

Outstanding Performances:

 

  • Sigourney Weaver (as Ellen Ripley)

 

Runtime:


2 hours and 31 minutes

 

Rating:

 

R

 

Genre:

 

Action / Adventure / Science-Fiction