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nicky

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nicky last won the day on August 17

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About nicky

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  1. DON'T BREATHE 2 (2021) 3/5 (No spoilers) My expectations were high since producer Sam Raimi said a few years ago, "this is only the best idea for a sequel I've ever heard. No kidding." He must've been talking out of his ass or drunk. Opinions of the first film were split mostly cos viewers were expected to root for petty thieves. If that was you, you'll hate the sequel even more cos this time the villain is the hero. The sequel takes place 8 years later so we could assume The Blind Man (Stephen Lang) has learned to regret his evil ways but for the most part he's still the same character with the same motives. If you can get past the villain-hero switch, the film is actually quite enjoyable with some great tense moments...at least for the first half BUT once the villains' motives are revealed it just gets dumber. I found the first death unnecessary and it left me confused while there was some obvious exposition and no sign of the emergency services whatsoever. The writing is fairly clunky with ideas strung together with not much substance to back them up (there's plenty gaps that need filling). Yes, its a dumb film yet still manages to be enjoyable up to a certain point
  2. Actually, yes, you're right. I just remembered there is a clip of private footage where he jokes to the camera about the film's director, "he can shout 'action' and 'cut' all day long but it won't make him a director." And there is also footage of a suppressed/subtle heated exchange between the two. But he doesn't address it in his new narration is what I meant,
  3. VAL (2021) 4/5 (No spoilers) I'm not a huge fan of Val Kilmer but I do like a lot of his work including this documentary about his life, career and illness. It's not entertaining per se (I don't think that's the purpose of a documentary) but I did find it fascinating and informative even as just a casual fan. What's great about this film is that it's auto-biographical and everything is coming straight from the horse's mouth so there's no question about anything being inaccurate - it feels very personal and is wonderfully written and narrated. There is also a lot of previously unseen private camcorder footage that Val has documented all of his life which gives fascinating insight into what went on during some productions. He even shows footage of himself at LFCC and tells the viewers what he thinks of such signing events. Of course we all want to hear Val talk about his alleged "difficult behaviour" and his beefs with Joel Schumacher, John Frankenheimer etc. but he never does. Instead he chooses to tell his story from an unbiased perspective; he never says a bad word about anyone in his narration and instead just presents us with footage. Anyway being more candid about his animosity towards others publicly wouldn't win him any sympathy and just make him look child-ish. Most importantly the film has a heart; it shows there is a human behind the movie-star persona. We learn about his family troubles, his divorce, his children and his illness and how it has all effected him and how grateful he is. This seems to be the main motivation for Val making this film.
  4. THE SUICIDE SQUAD (2021) 2/5 (No spoilers) Sorry, guys but I didn't enjoy this film at all. I wanted to like it but it must be one of the most over-hyped films I've ever seen. Whilst visually-pleasing, the overall ridiculousness and campness of the squad reminded me of MYSTERY MEN (1999). I know it was never meant to be taken seriously when you have characters like a talking shark-man (the only interesting part of the film) but even as a goofy comedy it's so underwhelming and weird. The cast is filled with dull characters and a plethora of cameos and bit parts that go nowhere; the opening scenes and introduction of Micheal Rooker's character are especially misleading. Furthermore it felt very random with so many pointless characters that do F-all like Polka-Dot Man, Ratcatcher and King Shark. Even Harley Quinn seems to be taking a back-seat in this (apart from the middle when she goes off on her own). Meanwhile the one-eyed villain reminded me of Futurama and John Cena was like Mark Whalberg. The problem wasn't the jokes; it wasn't embarrassingly unfunny (the over-head projector came close) but the story and characters were just dull and random while other parts were surreal and psychedelic in a Ren & Stimpy way eg. Harley vs. the guards. And the humor and violence seemed to be riding on the coat-tails of DEADPOOL (2016) just not as good. I am absolutely STUNNED this has been lauded with so much praise, I pretty much gave up trying to follow the plot after the first act and kept looking at the timer. "They're dying to save the world?", well I was dying for the film to end. It was just as bad IMHO as David Ayer's SUICIDE SQUAD (2016).
  5. A QUIET PLACE PART II (2021) 4/5 (No spoilers) I liked the first film but it seemed to simply be an excuse to have some high-tension scenes built around people having to keep quiet while blind monsters hunted them - similar to how the VERY simple plot of JOHN WICK (2014) was also 'just an excuse' to showcase action. A QUIET PLACE PART II is more of the same; its great at tension but weak on the actual story. This time Emily Blunt takes a bit of a back-seat allowing Cillian Murphy to be a great addition. We also learn a tiny bit more about the aliens and what has happened to civilization but overall the sequel doesn't add much - it's just literally 'the next day'. If you watch both films back-to-back it almost feels like a TV mini-series - except there just doesn't seem to be much going on in this film's universe. It's very contained and I'm sure it could quickly be over by Part 3. Having said that this installment does verge on THE WALKING DEAD territory though and so could open up into a similar TV series (a spin-off film is in development). It's a fun film though, probably better than the first but it's short, thin and over with very quickly with not enough plot or dialogue to breathe life into characters throughout. It needs more meat.
  6. THE TOMORROW WAR (2021) 4/5 (No spoilers) After a slew of s***ty straight-to-streaming movies I didn't expect much from Amazon's THE TOMORROW WAR but I was very pleasantly surprised. It's like a good old-fashioned sci-fi action film from the 90s in the vain of INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996) with a hint of TERMINATOR 2 (1991); time-travelers from the future arrive in our present to recruit soldiers to help fight a losing future war against aliens.The action was great, the monsters were cool (the aliens are given purpose!) and the characters weren't the cliches I expected. Sure when I heard there was a father, daughter and grandfather in the story I anticipated there'd be some unnecessary/tired estranged relationship sub-plot going on (we just had that in ARMY OF THE DEAD), I mean there is...but its not as eye-rolling as we're used to (I don't think) and it doesn't get in the way.The film has three solid acts and moves along pretty swiftly (as it should with a 2hr+ runtime) but the start of the film is a little too swift; we're barely 5 mins in before the time-travelers arrive with their HUGE announcement of an alien invasion and we're hardly given any time to get comfortable with the protagonist's introduction or the set-up of the film's universe first. BTW since when was World Cup at Xmas?!Of course there's things that make no sense, the odd cop-out, the ending is horribly cheesy and beats from other sci-fi films are borrowed like THE THING (2011), STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997) and EDGE OF TOMORROW (2014) but the good out-weighed the bad. I know when I'm having a good time when I look at the counter and am glad to see there's still another hour to go. I look forward to the sequel and finding out more about the aliens' arrival.
  7. ARMY OF THE DEAD (2021) 3/5 (No spoilers) I had high hopes for this film following Zack Snyder's excellent DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004) but found ARMY nowhere near as good. It's not a total disappointment but certainly not worth the 14 year wait in development hell either. That's plenty time to improve a script! I absolutely love the premise; a team of mercs is sent into a quarantined zombie-filled Las Vegas to pull-off a heist. However, I found the film to be lacking in consistency as most of the zombie-action (bar the one great tense scene halfway) wasn't seen until towards the end of the film making the structure quite unbalanced. It's a slow build-up including Snyder's signature slo-mo opening titles (that take forever) and culminates in a very rushed climax where things happen too quickly or too easily - the writing, pacing and editing are all quite messy and characters defy logic. Yes, the plot is predictable and some parts were so cliche and reminded me of ALIENS (1986); there's even a tough Latin chick with a red headband like Vasquez and a shady corporate guy. Each character had decent stuff to do though and thankfully wasn't just random fodder but there's always that one annoying cliche person who stupidly endangers everyone else - just like in DOTD. The emotional-arc of the film felt really weak, tiresome and unnecessary like most survival-horror schlock. Overall the film lacked consistency and should have been more concise. Nevertheless it was still mildly enjoyable in a dumb way simply because of the premise and visuals (despite Synder's use of a shallow depth of field looking like vaseline on the lens) - but the ending is so unsatisfying with things left unresolved and questions unanswered, even the zombies' origins are left a mystery and why does the leader wear a eff-ing cape?!
  8. NOBODY (2021) 3.5/5 (No spoilers) While hardly original this was still an enjoyable action romp, it's greatest strength being it's main character played by Bob Odenkirk who has a bit more realism to him than the other middle-aged action men we're used to. I didn't watch the trailer first so was quite disappointed and unprepared for the change in direction the story took after the first 30 mins. The film started off interesting but then after the scene on the bus everything changed, up until that point I was watching something different but then the film rapidly descended into the same old 'John Wick' s***. I really wanted to explore more of the character's reluctance to fight, his rustiness and desire to be a peaceful family-man but this theme was overshadowed by the need to be a straight-out bullet-fest. There are obvious comparisons to JOHN WICK (2016) of course; it's another assassin picking a fight with a Russian gang who's boss wants to avenge their brother/son against a backdrop of nightclubs, basements, techno music and even the same blue/violet cinematography. It's safe to say so if you enjoyed JOHN WICK then you'll like NOBODY. I actually preferred the latter.
  9. MORTAL KOMBAT (2021) 2.5 (Mild spoiler) I was looking forward to this and was quite pleased to see that the fans had generally been positive about it despite many critics hadn't. But then I realized that fans of videogames are generally fans of that medium first and cinema second. In other words, take a film fan's word for it when they say the movie sucks, not a gamer's. The film's opening 10 mins are great but the rest just doesn't live up to the start so it's quite obviously a horribly unbalanced film. The plot is boring; there's all this talk of tournaments and a rivalry between 'Earthrealm' and 'Outworld' but we never see any of it and there's almost no explanation given for why any of this s*** is even happening. It's like the film was made purely with fans in mind so if you aren't very familiar with the property a lot of it will go over your head. The plot lost me quite early on but what's worse is that nothing redeeming made me want to go back and try to understand it. It's a fairly over-crowded film with too many characters squeezed in, they're also pretty weakly-written and feel very randomly placed - its like a messy superhero team movie. Josh Lawson (Kano) has a lot of charisma but his constant plays for comic relief become too much at times (eg. the dinner scene) while Lewis Tan (Cole) feels rather flat as a leading man. Overall, the film feels like a 90s B-movie due to its casting of little-known TV actors and lack of scope - it wants to be a big blockbuster but it feels like the focus on action, violence and fan service is trying to compensate for lack of story.
  10. PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (2020) 4/5 (No spoilers) Carey Mulligan is 'Cassie', a troubled lonely woman haunted by the rape of her best friend years before. What follows is a sociopathic feminist revenge-thriller loaded with creepy-manipulative schemes - think GONE GIRL (2014), FATAL ATTRACTION (1987) and a bit of FALLING DOWN (1993). But unlike those films, I found it hard in this movie to root for our misandristic/'jaded' heroine. The first 20 minutes presents Cassie as a crusader looking for trouble and baiting men; she feigns drunkeness in bars just to teach men a lesson about taking advantage of women - its as pointless as deliberately leaving my wallet on display in an unlocked car just to catch-out opportunist thieves. Whatsmore that plot-point should've been saved for a separate movie all of its own since it served NO purpose to the main plot (except to highlight the film's feminist agenda). It's easy to sympathize with Cassie but equally easy to find her unlikable; sure she deserves justice but she's so calculating and angry like an incel. The plot and pacing is very good and there is a lot of "plotting" going on...but I had a major problem with characters not questioning Cassie's excuses and explanations (or lack thereof) for her schemes. And this won Best Original Screenplay?! Also the love interest (Ryan) is presented as such an embarrassing simp, was this an attempt to satirize or make fun of good guys? The message here was men are either misogynist A-holes or weak saps who beg for dates, either way they're all crap...except your dad of course. There is humour in the film but its awkward (the pharmacy scene was cringey). The production design is colourful and girly in a candy-store way but although the film deals with sensitive political issues, I feel they're dumbed-down by the 'need' to be a commercial hit with its use of pop music and girly colours. The ending was unexpected and brave but I lost all respect and stopped rooting for Cassie completely because she crossed the line and the final plothole here just lost me. This is probably the most feminist film since THELMA & LOUISE (1991). I really enjoyed it but I didn't like the character.
  11. SOUND OF METAL (2019) 3/5 (No spoilers) Describing a film about a heavy metal drummer going deaf as "quiet" is an ironic criticism. But that's the whole point of this Oscar-heavy film as director, Darious Marder, tries hard to make the audience see and hear the story from Ruben's (Riz Ahmed) point of view by using its sound design and (non-use) of subtitles to tell the story.The plot is straight-forward but as often with films with such simple premises, I found myself thinking, "OK so he goes deaf, now what?" I felt similarly about THE FAREWELL (2019) in which a dying grandma's family throw a secretly fake wedding banquet to honour her - like that film, SOUND OF METAL also has a very unsatisfying ending where you're asking, "oh, is that it?" The flat ending also makes much of the 2nd act seem rather pointless OR very relevant depending on how you see it. What should have made the film is how Ruben comes to deal with his condition and forms friendships within the deaf community and its inhabitants - the film focuses on this for a while and you start to feel glad for Ruben's progress but the 3rd act just changes everything and so its easy to feel betrayed by our protagonist.Of course without much sound or music in the film the audience's patience will be tested as the pacing of the film is compromised. The sound design has been praised for being 'inventive' but when you see the film, isn't it an obvious choice to let the audience hear things from Ruben's point of view? The use of sound design and subtitles here is hardly rocket-science and shouldn't be a surprise at all.I really wanted this film to be about the triumph of the human spirit or over-coming great odds - I think the film wants to be those things but I don't think it really hit the nail on the head. What we get instead is a story about a man wanting to fix himself. Like Joe, the deaf community leader says in the film, "We're here to fix this (*points to forehead*), not this (*points to ears*)."
  12. GODZILLA VS. KONG (2021) 3.5/5 (No spoilers) I didn't care much for the Monsterverse apart from KONG: SKULL ISLAND (2017) so was happy to see King Kong back again compared to Godzilla who I always felt lacked characterization. But despite Zilla's short-comings, GODZILLA VS KONG didn't disappoint although it did feel like chunks were missing and Big G was quite side-lined. I quite liked the plot - everything felt justified but it was obvious we were skipping-over what Kong had been doing since his last film set 50 years prior. Similarly, there's a backstory involving Alexander Skarsgard's dead brother and another with a little mute girl that Kong has bonded with - both of these plot-points could've been expanded to make the humans more developed but they're reduced to just a couple lines of exposition. The same goes for the sudden discovery of the Titans' home and ancestral history - it was fascinating to learn about their origins but again, it needed more time spent on it. The fights are the best thing here; they look spectacular and we're treated to many bouts and not just with Big G or Kong. The rumbles are everything you'd want from giants like these easily surpassing similar scenes of destruction in the TRANSFORMERS or PACIFIC RIM films. Furthermore, Godzilla and Kong finally facing-off actually feels like the grand historic cinematic event that other 'VS' films should have been. The battles look gorgeous and its easy to see why the finale is set in Hong Kong with all those lights but the close-ups of Godzilla's face looked a bit too "man-in-a-suit" and unintentionally funny. The film could easily have been a mess since there's three narrative threads running; one for Kong, one for Godzilla and another for the three human conspiracy theorists which the film could've omitted since they took the focus off the monsters. The "Journey To The Center Of The Earth" was by far the most interesting part of the film so hopefully we'll see more of that in future installments but now that the two big bads have finally fought I'm not sure there's much more story to tell in this franchise.
  13. MONSTER HUNTER (2020) 2.5/5 (Mild spoiler) The holy trinity of Paul W.S. Anderson, Milla Jovovich and Capcom returns once more for yet another videogame adaptation. And this one was surprisingly fun...at least for the first hour as we're presented with a cross between STARGATE (1994) and HELL IN THE PACIFIC (1968) but after that things take a drastic dip and the film never recovers making this an uneven mess. The film introduces a bunch of soldiers complete with typically cheesey macho banter but like a lot of Anderson's films the side characters are basically doomed random monster fodder leaving Jovovich to showcase her cartoony one-man-army skills. Tony Jaa shows up, probably tempted by the fact he doesn't have to speak English in the film but I can't imagine what the appeal for Ron Pearlman was. Once again the fanboy in Anderson borrows from the action films of the 80s/90s he grew-up with most notably the soldiers vs bugs carnage of STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997) and the gunpowder self-surgery of RAMBO III (1988). The ending feels pretty rushed and a desperate attempt to set-up a sequel. The cliffhanger ending doesn't work as not enough story or characters have been introduced so far for anyone to give a s*** including the giant bipedal CGI cat! Milla's reaction says it all. I can tolerate a lot of Anderson's films but when the cat showed up I just lost it.
  14. RIP. Met him at LFCC 2004 when he appeared with Veronica Cartwright and they did a talk together. Apparently he was one of the actors in the running for Picard before Patrick Stewart got it? Live & Let Die Alien Midnight Run The Running Man Movies of his in my DVD collection.
  15. COMING 2 AMERICA (2021) 2.5/5 (No spoilers) The 1988 original is a classic so this new sequel was always gonna be a tough act follow and even more so without John Landis directing. But what was missed even more was the adult tone and F-bombs which made up most of the jokes previously.COMING 2 AMERICA is ultimately an unashamed retread and one big homage to the previous film with not-so-subtle winks at every turn. PREDATORS (2010) was like that too but C2A takes it much further. If C2A spent more time trying to be its own film and less effort constantly reminding us there was another (better) film before it, it may have been more tolerable. Even the romance in the story feels more like a sub-plot and feels very rushed and unconvincing.The jokes were NOT funny, they were cringey and so too are the musical sequences ('Gett Off') which border on fantasy/surrealism. Leslie Jones was quite funny a couple of times but Murphy just doesn't feel like the same charming Akeem we once knew, even his accent has changed and he's more of a supporting character. And Wesley Snipes was just irritating especially with that stupid walk. They tried to cram in as many of the old characters back in as they could too, making this more of a fan-service event rather than a sequel/story worth telling.Eddie's done worse but C2A is only watchable thanks to nostalgia. Its a missed opportunity and both lazy and arrogant of writers to think they could get away with just using fan-service and repetition (making it predictable) to carry the film. It's "Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull" all over again but at least its better than that other recent 30 year sequel, BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC (2020).
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