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nicky

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nicky last won the day on April 15 2013

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About nicky

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  1. Oh s*** that reminds me, I didn't mention Train To Busan (2016).
  2. IP MAN 4: THE FINALE (2019) 4/5* No Spoilers So if you're like me, the first question on your mind would have been, "is this one gonna be a return to form after the disappointing 3rd one?" The answer is YES. Although it's not as great as the first two films it is certainly a lot better than the 3rd one and the MASTER Z spin-off from last year. Any 4th entry into a film franchise is always a tricky one because trilogies usually round themselves up so neatly. But IP MAN 4 isn't just a cash-grab and thankfully there is a story actually worth telling to give closure to the series with familiar characters returning from previous installments. However, what was also familiar in this film was the cliche "White man as racist bully" theme and "your Chinese kung-fu is s***" both of which had already been touched upon heavily before in IP MAN 2 (2010). This time the oppressor theme is even more prominent and as a Chinese man myself I found myself becoming much more emotionally affected by the film. Ip Man's relationship with his son following his wife's death was also a great emotional arc but this and Ip's illness should really have been developed more and pushed to the front of the story since those were the reasons why the film was set in the US in the first place . Scott Adkins as the villain was pretty OTT as a shouty drill instructor. In fact I found a few of the White actors in this to be a bit underwhelming which is a common problem I find in Chinese films. Obviously in Chinese films the casting team won't have a massive pool of Western talent to choose from (or they hire people who are primarily martial artists, not actors) so I think they often just go with whoever looks the part while a lot of their acting skills in the audition is lost in translation. But IP MAN 4 was filmed in the UK so I don't understand why they couldn't source better actors. There are quite a few subplots within the film, almost too many, and I would love to have seen more of Bruce Lee in the film but I understand that you can't risk having him overshadow Ip Man. "The Finale" is a very fitting title to this last sequel which very neatly ties up Ip Man's life with a great ending while at the same time paying enough homage to Bruce Lee in the film. There is even a subtle hint towards the end of the film that the next spin-off in the franchise will focus on Bruce himself. I hope this was deliberate.
  3. PARASITE (2019) 3/5* (Mild spoilers) Well it's the movie everyone's talking about so I guess I'll have my say. I first heard about people raving about the film last summer but I was disappointed to learn that it wasn't a horror film given the title and coming from the director of The Host (2006) so I didn't bother with it. Then this week it won four Oscars, but most importantly it was a Korean movie that won Best Picture, not just Best Foreign Film but Best Picture, and THAT changed my mind. I wanted to like this film, I really did, but for me it just didn't live up to the hype. Yes, it's smart and clever, original and has great social commentary but I felt the build-up especially in the first half to be rather slow. Maybe it was a pacing issue because there seemed to be some redundant plot-points in the film (guy pissing, pizza-box boss) which I think could easily have been omitted to make the film more concise. I also had problems with the family being poor - they obviously have skills and are not just clever so how is it they're not able to get real jobs? The two kids evidently went to school and studied pretty well given their talents. What the father did at the end of the film really baffled me too, I'm not sure what his motivation was for doing that. So it was an OK film and I'm happy a Korean film was lauded so well but for me I felt it could have been more concise. Actually it reminded me a lot of Get Out (2017) with its social commentary and its outsider/domestic themes. Its sad though because most people who will now see the film wouldn't have bothered if it wasn't for the Oscar wins, myself included, but I guess marketing and awards go hand in hand.
  4. DOCTOR SLEEP: Director's Cut (2019) 2/5 No Spoilers I was never a huge fan of the THE SHINING (1980) but I respected it as an iconic piece of film-making. Now obviously I wasn't expecting DOCTOR SLEEP to be anywhere near as good as Stanely Kubrick's film before it but I had high hopes that it would at least be enjoyable but it turned out to be even worse than I expected. I would have preferred to watch the shorter theatrical version but ultimately I went with this 3hr cut. For a start I thought the pacing was off particularly around the first half as we're bouncing around from one character's back-story to the next. It kind of reminded me of IT (2017) in that we have all these characters and we have to see everyone's individual story in messy turn. In DOCTOR SLEEP there's three main characters but it seems to take so long in telling their stories and yet there are still questions unanswered about where they came from. There's a lot of redundant scenes in this cut of the film and the plot isn't even that complex at all. It was a pretty boring film and I was disappointed that this had been catagorized as a horror film. I didn't think there was much horror in it at all. The re-casting of the actors from Kubrick's film was also disappointing and took me out of it - I know the director opted to not de-age the actors digitally though and instead re-cast them but I just didn't like what we got. Its been almost 40 years since the original film and I think that this sequel has come way too late, it just didn't feel like a sequel to the 1980 film at all or that it was even set in the same universe.
  5. 1917 (2019) *No Spoilers* 4/5 This was probably the best film of 2019 for me and up there with the greats when it comes to war films. I haven't seen many of Sam Mendes's films but would say that 1917 is a lot better than his other Oscar acclaimed film, American Beauty (1999). When I first heard 1917 was filmed in one-shot I feared it was just a gimmick to get some attention. Clint Eastwood had a gimmick too when he hired the actual people from the true-life event instead of actors for 15:17 To Paris (2018) and that didn't work. But in 1917 the one-shot cinematography really adds to the story and I could see how it benefited the film; as a viewer it feels like you're experiencing everything that the two leads do and that you're along for the ride. For the most part the film is set in real-time (apart from when there's the one obvious cut) and so the one-shot cinematography is very appropriate and makes the viewing experience much more engaging. As with most war films the story has little to do with war or combat and is more a story about determination to overcome great odds. The characters are nicely fleshed-out with some great casting of recognizable A-listers as the commanding officers. There was also an event within the film that totally took me by surprise which was a nice change in gears for the rest of the film. I think the only bad thing about the film for me was the climax was over with a bit too quickly considering the journey that was made to get there.
  6. THE FAREWELL (2019) 2.5/5 (No Spoilers) This film is about a dying grandma whose family hides the truth about her condition from her and then arranges a fake wedding as an excuse to get the family together with her one last time. That's literally the full plot and ALL that happens in this film. You now don't need to see it. There's a beginning and a middle. But what about an end? I won't spoil it but the ending is as flat as a pancake. You'll ask yourself, 'what was the point of all that?!' The story has this massive build-up and you're anxious to see how it resolves but then... GOTCHA! The plot literally goes nowhere fast...well in 100 mins at least. The premise has potential and that's its main selling point (like any screenplay) but the film relies heavily on this premise alone to do ALL the work. The script fails to take advantage of the glaringly obvious and expandable sub-plots and rich characters to make a deeper story eg. Billi's (Awkafina) singledom. Ultimately, what you get is a VERY simple and direct story that can literally be told in just its logline. And I really mean that. To its credit there are some nice characters but did anyone stop to wonder how, just HOW, the family roped the Japanese girlfriend to come to China to pretend to be the grandson's bride despite only dating him a couple months?! I was quite unsure what the genre was too but later read it was actually supposed to be a comedy. Don't you need humor to be a comedy? Or can it just be "light-hearted"? Its not a crap film nor is it boring, its just ruined by an anti-climatic ending that leaves you feeling "is that it?!" and a frustrating lack of a return of investment. I actually felt duped.
  7. Also in Cujo and The Howling ("Werewolf movie with 'ET's mom' - Scream).
  8. Also he was the young Norman Bates in Pyscho IV: The Beginning (1990). A decent prequel/sequel I thought.
  9. Not in order and more then ten: Hacksaw Ridge The Planet Of The Apes Trilogy Logan Searching Gone Girl Get Out It The Avengers Dredd Avengers: End Game Terminator: Dark Fate Piranha
  10. THE MANDALORIAN - SEASON 1 (2019) I just finished watching the first season and I think its safe to say its the best thing that's come out of Star Wars since the OT ended (along with Rogue One). Its not amazing but its enough to keep me watching the next season. If I wasn't a fan of the OT though I'm not sure I would. The episodes are a bit hit and miss with only a couple or so that I really liked but I think that's the risk when you're trying to make each episode a self-contained story. The writings not bad and they're obviously taking their time with telling us what the deal is with Baby Yoda and Mando's past. What's annoying to me though is the Mandalorians never remove their helmets so it makes it very hard for us to feel sympathy for those characters. Mando himself isn't the mysterious tight-lipped bad-ass I was hoping him to be unlike Boba Fett but I can see that if he was like that it wouldn't be practical. I like IG-11, and hopefully we'll see other bounty hunters from ESB turn up like Dengar and maybe IG-88. And yes, I totally expect Boba Fett himself to show up at some point. It does feel odd that the stormtroopers are given more personality in this though especially at the start of the final episode when we saw them bickering about Baby Yoda. Still the best TV show I saw in 2019 was Cobra Kai season 2. I tried to watch all of season one of Stranger Things but I really don't see what the fuss is about.
  11. RAMBO: LAST BLOOD (2019) 3.5/5 (No Spoilers) I had high-hopes for this new Rambo film. The previous film, RAMBO (2008), left me disappointed but RAMBO: LAST BLOOD (2019), although not a massive improvement, was at least fun and brought back the one-man-army aspect of the character. However I found this new film, like one before it, to still be lacking in personal ties to the character and added nothing new or interesting about him. Replace Rambo in this film with any other character and it would just be another generic action-movie which was exactly what I hated about the last sequel. There is nothing here that specifies the plot to Rambo. OK, there's a few nods to his time in 'Nam, he does Green Beret stuff, he uses his signature bow and arrows and he mentions how his new family helped bring him hope but its still basically just another simple, direct rescue film in the style of TAKEN (2008). In the original trilogy Rambo was always portrayed as the conflicted, reluctant warrior trying to find peace but kept getting pushed around but every film after that is just, "the continuing adventures of". I just want a RAMBO film that is actually about HIM. He's a really interesting character with so much history behind him to fuel a worthy story but LAST BLOOD offers only a few tiny nods to his days in 'Nam (his love of The Doors, Hendrix, his war memorabilia) and ONE really interesting line about not being able to save his "brothers"; all gone to waste. The action is good though and its pretty violent. We even see him get really beat-up and vulnerable which we've never seen before. But all this action doesn't make up for the lack of characterization in the plot - yes, he's pissed off about his "niece's" abduction but its still not a story about HIM and his inner conflict. Why did they even write his "niece" in and not just have his dad be the one in trouble? At least that way it would've carried on from the last film's ending and explain what he'd been doing since then. This lack of characterization/conflict really makes the story very simple and dull. There are also missed opportunities here with the nieces's abusive dad and PTSD subplots which could've added so much more depth to such a bland action-vehicle. And that's exactly what this film is; "a vehicle" for the Rambo character to simply ride around in. I want a RAMBO film where he attends a Veterans' memorial and meets a long-lost war buddy only to find out he's in trouble with organised crime so Rambo wages war on them. Or how about he attends a Veteran's group counselling session and in flashback retells his days in 'Nam. Or what happened to that old idea about Rambo returning to the town in FIRST BLOOD and encountering Sheriff Teasle (Brian Dennehy) again? Whatever, I just hope this isn't his last film.
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