Archives for category: Movie Reviews

Beautiful Creatures has been hyped up so much that it reminded me of the overly popularised Twilight series that I would not have gone to see the movie on my own volition. Without knowing anything about it and just going by the title, I thought it was a zombie movie adapted from a book. It isn’t. It’s a witch/witchcraft teen love story.

When I accompanied my friend to watch it, I discovered it was The Craft meets Romeo and Juliet. It was interesting and there were some big names who played some of the key roles despite the fact that the two leads are relatively new actors.

For some reason, I found that I enjoyed the diversion it created for me and I was drawn into the world of Beautiful Creatures. I was intrigued enough to consult Wikipedia and learn that the books were written by two authors collaborating and this is the first instalment of four books.

The premise of teens being thrown on the midst of supernatural beings has been overdone but Beautiful Creatures offers an interesting and relatively fresh take on the intricate world of the age old battle between good and evil supernatural forces.

I have not read the book yet (and still have not decided whether to do so) so I cannot comment whether the movie represented the depth of the original book adequately or whether the original book has depth to speak of. I have yet to decide whether to read all the books in the quartet or remain blissfully unaware until the next movie comes out.

If I do decide to proceed and read the books, I will let you know. I admit, I was surprised that I enjoyed Beautiful Creatures and it was a pleasant feeling to find something diverting amidst the sea of cliches and mind-numbing worldwide popular culture vampire and zombie obsession.

May we continue to come upon books and movies which offer a refreshing tweak to popularly accepted ideas, or even better, a completely novel perspective.

(c) Niconica 2013

Prom (Movie) 2011

I simply had to put the fact that this Disney movie came out in 2011, not in the 90s or 80s even as the lighting and cinematography with the nostalgic feel would suggest and this is to Prom‘s credit. The remarkable lack of technology (mobile phones, iPods, laptops) featured in the movie is reminiscent of the good old days of storytelling which focuses on the characters and the simple coming-of-age storyline.

I applaud Disney for choosing to come out with a good old-fashioned feel-good teen romance. In an age where we cannot help but check for the presence of Wi-Fi connection and update our Facebook page, or check our mobile phones for SMS messages, it is indeed refreshing to see a modern movie which can do without the trappings of technology and the fast-paced world where teens are portrayed (and are) fully made-up all the time and as vain as can be.

There is a charming unassuming attitude with the wardrobe and make-up of Prom which contributes to the lack of artificiality and theatrics which seem to be very common with teen/tween chick flicks of the recent decade.

I read critics rate the movie as average or less, and I suspect that it might be because of the straightforward and uncomplicated storyline. I disagree. I feel inundated by the complex and convoluted story lines of the present and welcome this refreshing and rustic tale–it’s a good ol’ feel good movie which if it was shown in the 80s would be considered one of the classic tween favourites.

Sometimes, a movie doesn’t have to be that intricate to work. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. In this crazy, increasingly stressful world, sometimes, when relayed in an effective manner, the coming-of-age boy meets girl story is enough. And, this is the case with Prom.

(c) Niconica 2013

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Don’t get me wrong, as a general rule, I enjoy chick flicks, but I thought that Something Borrowed would be another one of those shallow but enjoyable chick flicks with the added dose of dealing with a rather sensitive topic: falling for one’s best friend’s fiancee. Usually these sort of topics run the risk of being handled poorly and resulting in something that was not only uncomfortable but tasteless.  However, Something Borrowed is not only charming, it is unpredictable as well as poignant.

Considering how the plot unfolded, the title was wonderfully apt too.  Yes, it was about betrayal in a sense, if we were to look at the situation in a black and white manner and were prone to generalizing (which can be dangerous during the best of times); however, life is not two dimensional and is infinitely more complex than how we might imagine it to be and Something Borrowed touches wonderfully on the nuances of the situation.

As much as there’s something horrifying about the idea of weddings being cancelled, we might come to the realization that this side of the wedding date is the better time for being honest with ourselves than on the other side of it.  As insensitive as it might sound, the truth is that as difficult as the situation may be, these things happen, and people are more “up for grabs” before they say “I do” than they would be after the fact.  And it is on this side of the wedding that serious questions have to be asked and answered, before it’s too late.

It’s in our thirties when we realize that as much as we wanted to think that life was simple and that we would never find ourselves in what we might consider as tricky situations, we know better that life usually has quite a few surprises in store and a few tricks up its sleeve.  It’s wonderful to watch a movie which contains the ample balance of drama and comedy–not too heavy, and not too light.

Aside from the kudos to the usual suspects of what makes Something Borrowed a lovely movie, the director Luke Greenfield, and the stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate HudsonColin Egglesfield, and John Krasinski. I’d like to give kudos so the writer of the novel, Emily Griffin, and the writer of the screenplay, Jennie Snyder for a wonderful job.

(c) Niconica 2011*

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It’s sad to have to say goodbye to something that we have all grown-up with, but alas, it’s time. The epic finale did not fail to disappoint since it stayed relatively more specific to the plot of the book.  The darkness permeated the whole mood of the movie and we see a very adult theme that permeates throughout.

While the earlier Harry Potter books/movies were about escapism, fun, joy, and bravery, HP7 is more pragmatic in that decisions have consequences and the overall message that evil and its proponents are very real–and there are quite a lot of collateral damage along the way.

In the darkest of times, however, heroes emerge and this is certain the silver lining which appears to herald hope against the dark backdrop of the last stand against Voldemort.  A somber and fitting ending–though it leaves one wishing that there would be more HP books.

It has to be said that the Deathly Hallows movie, while being fantastic and a definite tear-jerker with moments of humor, still ought be complimented by the original HP7 book which provides the original inspiration, rich back stories, and the poignancy of the experience.

(c) Niconica 2011*

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I did not see this version of “The Adjustment Bureau poster.  I saw a poster that looks more like this one:

Now, with this second movie poster – tell me it doesn’t give one the thoughts, “Oh, it’s another Matt Damon suspense thriller …”  a la The Bourne Identity.” It was because of the jump to this conclusion that I was more that a little hesitant to watch the movie, but it just so happened that I had such a trying week that I badly needed to decompress via watching a movie–any movie–and “The Adjustment Bureau” seemed to be the more acceptable option and boy was I glad I watched it.

Now in saying all this, I believe that if I had come upon the black and white poster with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, I would have been more compelled to watch it… Furthermore, I feel that the first poster does the plot more justice than the “running around” poster which is far too mainstream.

I quickly scanned the reviews before watching it and have seen it categorized as a science fiction love story and I do agree that it could fall into that category. I would probably add in the world surreal into the description.  A lot of doorways abruptly leading to unexpected places possesses a very surreal quality to me. However, these labels are just the trappings, and when it comes down to content, it is a lovely discourse and an interesting take on three quintessential dilemmas:

Romance vs. Career

Happiness vs. Success

Fate vs. Free Will

Need I say more?

Enjoy!

(c) Niconica 2011*

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It’s the convening of four very talented stars of the big screen: the inimitable Reese Witherspoon, the endearing Paul Rudd, the charming Owen Wilson, and the venerable Jack Nicholson. The writer and director James L. Brooks deserves both the credit for picking just the right people for the roles of How Do You Know and the credit for conceiving the unique plot.

Brooks shares that the premise of the story is two people who meet during the worst day of their lives, and together with the talented cast, they pull it off with charm, wit, subtlety, comedy, and grace. It surprises me that it scored only 5.3/10 on IMDb. I guess it goes to show that IMDb doesn’t always get it right.

Just because it’s not tragic, epic, or dramatic, it doesn’t mean that it is less credible and enjoyable as a movie.  We do not always need gravitas, novelty, and special effects. Sometimes a feel good movie which is both funny and poignant and speaks about the subtleties of the heart and falling in love is just what we need.  And this movie delivers!

(c) Niconica 2011*

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We have grown up with our fair share of Disney movies and for people like myself who have yet to grow out of watching animated moviesTangled is quite a treat.  Granted, I did not find the plot as romantic or as moving as Beauty and the Beast, but let’s face it, the tale of Rapunzel is more challenging to approach and handle, and therefore due credit and applause must be given to Disney for giving us a refreshing take on what is one of the more boring fairy tales in the bunch.

I can acknowledge that perhaps my partiality for Disney’s Beauty and Beast might not be simply because of the original animated movie, but also because of my age.  I was younger and more impressionable or sentimental than I am now, so perhaps it had a greater effect on me.

It could also be that I have always been fascinated by the tale of Beauty and the Beast.  However, Tangled was still a very enjoyable, entertaining, and diverting animated movie – complete with the signature musical numbers – and not to mention, watching it in 3D adds to the experience.

It would be in this facet (the 3D factor) that Tangled would trump “Beauty and the Beast” and I can’t help but hope that Disney would do an updated 3D version of it.  I admit, it’s now sounding more like a review of Beauty and the Beast, instead of Tangled, so I should probably get back to the point.  There are some very interesting and memorable characters and Disney has definitely not lost its touch for delighting children of all ages (ahem) and providing us with refreshing angles and perspectives which make us feel young again.

Endearing characters to watch out for – aside from the leads – would be Pascal and Maximus.  I’m not going to go into detail here so as not to spoil the experience of watching the movie… but yes, I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who would like to be captured by the romance of enchantments and kingdoms… and the idea of a happily-ever-after.  Goodness knows, we do need more of this in our lives – and just in time for Valentine’s Day.  Enjoy!

(c) Niconica 2011*

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Being unfamiliar with owls, I was rather worried as to how I would be able to tell one character apart from the other – but during the course of watching The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole the different characters came alive in a most charming, endearing, and memorable way.  No sooner than in the first few minutes of the movie did the story and the characters come alive and envelope me in their embrace.  It felt like I was there, sharing their struggles and triumph.

It was an enjoyable albeit classic tale of good vs. evil, though this one had the added bitter taste of sibling rivalry and betrayals just to complicate the issue.  Let us not forget that the value of valor, strength of character, and pureness of spirit were reflected as well. The main protagonist Soren embodied all these traits, along with being an adorable dreamer – and though it might sound a bit too good to be true, who doesn’t enjoy a good tale where the good guy is a hero through and through?  We sure need more people who embody Soren’s traits in the world.

The Legend of the Guardians is definitely an amusing and inspiring, feel-good tale for the whole family!

(c) Niconica 2010

Inception” was entertaining and action-packed, though perhaps lacking a certain something to make it poignant.  Nevertheless, it can still be considered at the top of the science fiction field – for the revolutionary concept of dream invasion.  The ending can be slightly frustrating for people who long for a definitive and concrete positive resolution.

The visual effects were amazing and breathtaking for sure, though the length of the film might make some feel that the plot, as brilliant as it is, seemed to have been overstretched.

The movie “Inception” would be worth watching for the stunning imagery and the progressive science fiction concept..  Christopher Nolan‘s idea for Inception is definitely innovative – bring the whole science fiction movie genre into a whole new level.

(c) Niconica 2010

We have now come to the end of an era… as part 1 of Book 7 of the famous Harry Potter series is shown on the big screen.  I had rather thought that it would have a serious action/horror feel about it when I watched it so I found myself pulled in both ways before watching it.  I wanted to watch it because I am a professed Harry Potter fan but at the same time, I dreaded watching it because I knew, from reading the books, that the violence,  casualties and losses were about to mount up and I wasn’t sure whether my nerves could take it all being portrayed on the big screen in a grandiose manner.  I am glad that I was mistaken.

The setting was stark and sombre but without an exaggerated action feel.  One does not feel as though one has been catapulted into a series of pure action sequences, but instead, one finds oneself on a fast-paced subtly sentimental journey in this coming-of-age  film.  The loss of their innocence as they come face to face with very real dangers and consequences signifies a step further into adulthood as they leave child’s play behind.  Decisions must be made in the face of increasing pressure, as the stakes soar higher and higher.

I would have preferred that the movie not have been divided into two parts.  The story would have been more cohesive and been appreciated better in one go, instead of cutting it off just when things were getting good.  I recognize the financial advantages for the producers in splitting it into two  though – as well as the notion of making a good thing last as long as it can, before it inevitably ends. However, as an avid fan, it just feels more disjointed to be watching Part 2 next year – jumping in right in the middle… when the impact of the hefty volume of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows would have been felt more strongly if it had been covered in one go.

Aside from this, it was, all in all, an enjoyable film – poignant but not melodramatic, haunting but not grisly, serious but not severe, and definitely not devoid of some much-needed key moments of humor – altogether fitting for the beginning of the end.

(c) Niconica 2010