Assassin’s Creed

Assassin’s Creed

Rating: 1.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society.

Review:

Going in I didn’t have very high expectations; I knew this movie was based in a popular game, so it would be mostly graphic-oriented.
I didn’t expect such a weak plot, though.

The fight scenes were okay. On quite a few occasions I could not tell what exactly hit the bad guys and there were a few acrobatics that seemed so fake, like running on clotheslines – it was so obvious the actors were being held by wires.

But even so, cool fighting scenes are just not enough.
The storyline is not linear and I felt there were no proper explanations to what was happening. It actually seemed that a huge chunk of the movie was edited out.
The characters were flat, I still don’t get how the artefact everyone is looking for is supposed to work, the side characters don’t add anything to the story and I am just at an utter loss as to how this got put together.

Michael Fassbender and Jeremy Irons are pretty much the only upside to the movie, even though they were so grossly underused.
So yes, you could say I am disappointed at it and I cannot recommend that you spend money on this.

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Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Review:

This was my first time on IMAX and I actually did not know about Doctor Strange so I went into it fully open-minded.

And you know what… This was actually pretty good! Granted, some things were not very realistic and the character development was much too quick in certain parts but overall this was very well achieved.

The movie is reminiscent of Inception and Matrix and I absolutely loved the first scenes, featuring the Ancient One.

Cumburbatch played this character wonderfully. He is witty and egocentric and even though there is development to the character he never ceases to be true to himself.
Some of the humorous moments are simply hilarious. He seems to have been born for this part, much like Iron Man seems to have been created for Robert Downey Jr.

All the other actors performed brilliantly as well, though. Tilda Swinson was simply amazing and her interactions with Cumberbatch were so much fun and awe-striking.
Rachel McAdams did great as well; it’s not easy to shine in such a roll but she was very good and believable.
Mads Mikkelsen as the villain was also superb. I had not expected such a humane approach to him.

I had a great time watching Doctor Strange and definitely recommend it.

Snowden

Snowden

Rating: 4.75/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
The NSA’s illegal surveillance techniques are leaked to the public by one of the agency’s employees, Edward Snowden, in the form of thousands of classified documents distributed to the press.

Review:

I went to watch Snowden with someone who was extremely well informed about the subject while I sadly wasn’t and while we had extremely different perspectives going into it, I believe it is safe to say both thought the movie was pretty darn awesome. From the former point of view, it appears some important things were left out, while I kept getting stuck on stuff like how does a guy who did not even finish high school and obviously really wants to make it in Special Forces turn out to be such a genius, only being self-taught.

The fact is the story enthralled me. Even if some things felt cheesy, especially the abuse of light surrounding the main character in key moments, the fact is due to such a strong issue and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s stellar performance (queue choir of angels – yes, I am biased towards this guy, sue me), this was indeed a memorable experience.

I mean, that guy obviously did such a brilliant character study. I cannot get past how he placed his voice. The facial expressions and ticks, the way he held himself, a lovely mixture of a fragile and strong young man with principles literally held me at the edge of my seat sometimes – I had to keep reminding myself to sit back.

Some things did throw me off besides what I mentioned above, such as the way he got the information out (the entire process just seemed oversimplified) – and really every single time he expressed his obviously dangerous points of view.

However, I had a terrific time watching this and I highly recommend it. Makes me want to watch the documentary, to find out what really happened and what is just in the movie.

Equilibrium

Equilibrium

Rating: 3/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
In a Fascist future where all forms of feeling are illegal, a man in charge of enforcing the law rises to overthrow the system.

Review:

By now, dystopian societies where people are not allowed to feel for the greater good is no longer a new concept. This movie came out 14 years ago though, so I can only assume it was pretty new back then.

Still, having that in mind, it was not very entertaining. Some plot twists made no sense while others were predictable, and there were situations where the main character put himself that there is absolutely no chance he could not get caught in such a society. He was allowed to do those things for much too long, for the sake of the narrative evolving to where it did. Even the new sort of martial art of fighting/shooting was quite beautiful and yet there is no way trained soldiers would just wait in line to be shot like that.

Equilibrium presents itself as a blend of Fahrenheit 451 and The Matrix and if you are big on action movies you will probably enjoy it. As I mentioned, some scenes really are capable of dazzling you. However, I do felt the plot could have been polished much, much more and in the end it was just another cool sci-fi, action movie. Extra points for the newness of the concept at the time and Bale’s performance, but that’s about it.

Nerve

Nerve

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of “watchers.”

Review:

Nerve was an entertaining movie but it asked for a lot of suspension of disbelief.

The strength of the film is the possibility that all of this could happen, born out of the feeling of anonymity that virtual lives allow. It explores that power to the limit.

In this game called Nerve, there are players and there are watchers. Players have to accept challenges, or dares, which get progressively more difficult to fulfil, even life-threatening, but the reward is exponentially higher as well.
Winning the challenge is part of the game, the other is getting more followers. So all these people gather around following their favourite players both online and in real life, rooting for them.

There was so much I didn’t get about this game and how the movie progressed.

How are the dares chosen? Only towards the end do we get an inkling of an explanation – that they are voted by the majority. Ok but who creates them in the first place and out of so many thousands of people how many are necessary to get a dare through? Do they all vote? It seems like a somewhat long process given the speed at which they came up.

Who created the game? Who wires the money and how? Who decides if the challenge is passed or failed, since it is not always that obvious?

One of the challenges was for Ian to take Vee to the city. What if she had said no? Would he have lost? Was he supposed to take her by force?

Also one of the rules is that for the dare to count it must be filmed by the player’s phone. I got so confused because the scenes would be filmed as if the player was holding the camera when they were obviously not… The motorcycle challenge was the one where this showed most blatantly. There is no way either of them could have filmed that, or even a watcher, not from that angle.

The movie is so fast paced that probably folks won’t be thinking about most of these things but I couldn’t get them off my mind. It just did not seem plausible for such a concept to exist in this fashion. It needed to be much more polished.

Also, the ending was totally anticlimatic since those issues were never explained, particularly about who created the game and how it worked. And having kid hackers admonish the watchers and that’s it, game over, slap on the wrist and people simultaneously gain a conscience and the game is destroyed was beyond ridiculous for a resolution of such a story.

The main character’s evolution was a bit too dramatic. She is portrayed as a bookworm with little to no self-esteem, cannot even speak to a guy she likes, and we are presented with a knockout of an actress who I can never believe is any of those things. She shines so much more than her so called star friend.
Anyway, assuming she was all that, I get that Vee gets carried away by the entire thing and it is a journey of discovering herself but some things were really extreme and it just struck me as not believable. Then there were all the clichés about the friend who obviously likes her more than she does, the jealous friend, and so on.

With all these things that ticked me off, Nerve is still a fast-paced movie which makes you wonder about possibilities in today’s world and how things can so easily change in the blink of an eye and how everything we take for granted may vanish and especially that just because we are anonymous online it does not mean our words and actions do not count or have no power.

I had fun. I wish the concept had been developed better but I had fun.

Surrogates

Surrogates

Rating: 4.25/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others’ surrogates.

Review:

Surrogates is a thought-provoking, generally well made sci-fi movie. There was a little too much action for my taste and I didn’t get how people who were connected to their surrogates almost 24/7 still had functioning bodies at all, or how they performed basic functions, but the main concept was intriguing.

In a world where you look however you want and never get hurt, who would ever use their real body? What is the point? In doing so, are you losing a large portion of what makes you human?
The movie asks these questions and others.

It started really well for me, as it presented an evolution to the current state of the world. It was progressive, we didn’t just get ‘bam, this is how things are, doesn’t matter how it got here’.

The development of the story was ok, it felt the pacing was off a bit at times. I thought the concept and its consequences was so powerful that it could have been better executed – all the action and superhero stuff only got in the way. Still, I appreciated the main characters, their struggles and their development. I particularly enjoyed the anxiety experienced by the main character when going out to the world for the first time in years.
All the cool effects were a welcome bonus. That flawless skin… Wowza. How the heck did they do that??

Besides the amazing imagery and all the action, Surrogates had suspense, mystery and interesting plot twists, so I recommend it.

Now You See Me 2

Now You See Me 2

Rating: 3.75/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.

Review:

Well that was entertaining!

There were quite a few loopholes, some corny stuff particularly in the villain department, no way most of that stuff could ever have happened, and I have to admit the long sequences worn me out, but the movie still held my attention through and through.

The ending spoiled it a bit for me and I felt dizzy with everything that went on, but it was still a very enjoyable experience. Cannot beat the first one, but still pretty darn amazing.