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May 052015
 

Faeryville

The problem with Tzang Merwyn Tong’s FAERYVILLE – if one can even call it a problem – is that the movie might be too ambitious for its own good.

FAERYVILLE is a movie with a strong message, in fact there are quite a few to go around. These themes are expressed in the context of a surrealistic satire on modern life. The title refers to an imaginary fairy tale like setting and in particular, a tertiary educational institution.

Within this context, there are two main competing factions/power bases viz. the haves and have nots. Tzang wants us initially to sympathise with the Nobodies, a group of outsiders (ostensibly led by Poe – wonderfully played by Lyon Sim) who spend their time being rebellious by committing illegal albeit harmless pranks. The group is joined by the mysterious Laer (a moody performance from Aaron Samuel Yong) and then the stunts turn dangerous and events spiral out of control.

The group’s antics are contrasted with the bullying tactics of the Calvary (the frat boys equivalent of the college) who lord their authority over everyone else – seemingly with the acquiesce of its principal  – which often turns very dark without warning. This conflict invariably and inevitably leads to disaster, tied in inexplicably with former anarchist Belle, before panning out into a disturbing conclusion.

Trying to find a delicate balance between art and commerce, Tzang has had to cast his actors carefully (eye candy is in abundance – look out for Tanya Graham and Jade Griffin) and mix up his high concepts with highly charged moments (including several explosions and sexual scenes) but without compromising the underlying message, where possible. Overall, I believe Tzang has succeeded in creating a thought-provoking movie but fear that it might somewhat fly over the heads of most people in his own homeland.

Which is ironic considering that much of FAERYVILLE is inspired by growing up in Singapore but what is the saying about a prophet not being recognised in his own hometown? A brave and remarkable vision that might be a little obscured by technical and budgetary issues but for the true seeker, there is much hidden treasure to discover in FAERYVILLE.


FAERYVILLE will open in Singapore on 26 May 2015, exclusively at Filmgarde Bugis+
Tickets on sale from 7 May, www.fgcineplex.com.sg

For more information, visit www.faeryville.com
Follow us on Facebook.com/faeryville
Twitter and Instagram @Faeryville

GEEK OUT! Ultron’s Massive $188M Debut Falls Short of Avengers Record – Box Office Mojo

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May 042015
 

According to Box Office Mojo, “Avengers: Age of Ultron ruled the box office this weekend with a huge $187.7 million, which is the second-biggest debut ever. Unfortunately, the top opening ever belongs to its predecessor, Marvel’s The Avengers ($207.4 million)” which is a great start, of course, and continues to augur well for the future of the MCU.

The site also noted that “the Avengers sequel also continues to do strong business overseas, where it’s earned $439 million before even debuting in China or Japan”. Which hopefully means that the movie will go on to outgross Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Source: Weekend Report: ‘Ultron’s Massive $188M Debut Falls Short of ‘Avengers’ Record – Box Office Mojo

May 012015
 

ultron

If you have read my spoiler-free review, you would be aware that I loved Avengers: Age of Ultron and consider it by far the best superhero movie ever so far. However, based on numerous online comments, it has become de rigueur to label the movie as a disappointing sequel to the first movie, with the common criticism being that the movie has too much going on. My first reaction to this is — have these people ever read an actual superhero comic book before? Probably not. In that regard, I believe that director Joss Whedon made Avengers: Age of Ultron for us geeks and for that I am certainly grateful!

— SPOILERS ALERT —

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GEEK OUT! Superman vs. Batman? DC’s Real Battle Is How to Create Its Superhero Universe – Hollywood Reporter

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Apr 302015
 

Warner Bros. is employing a different strategy than Marvel as it hires five writers for ‘Wonder Woman,’ has no clear leader and deals with new frustrations in its struggles to craft a compelling 10-movie world.

Source: Superman vs. Batman? DC’s Real Battle Is How to Create Its Superhero Universe – Hollywood Reporter

What the hell is Warners up to? They need to back off and let the editors at DC Comics determine the creative path of the DC Universe. If not, Warners and DC are headed for financial disaster.

GEEK OUT! COMIC BOOK ART ALWAYS COMES FIRST BEFORE STORY

 COMICS, FILM  Comments Off on GEEK OUT! COMIC BOOK ART ALWAYS COMES FIRST BEFORE STORY
Apr 282015
 

Avengers01

Let’s get real, shall we?

When it comes to stories presented in words and visuals, the visual aspect will always trump the word aspect. That is why movies like Transformers: Age of Extinction and Furious 7 are able to do well at the box office despite not having very good stories. This also applies in comic books, which is – like film – a graphic medium and very much dependent on the visual quality for its appeal and success.

Avengers006

Of course, I am not saying that the writing does not matter in comic books but even the best work of my favourite comic book writer Alan Moore, was enhanced by the sterling work of his collaborators viz. Steve Bissette (Swamp Thing), John Totleben (Swamp Thing, Miracleman), Dave Gibbons (Watchmen), Kevin O’Neill (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) etc etc. Which made Moore’s Supreme much less than expectations due to the artwork of Rob Liefeld!

avengers_4

Which is why ultimately I believe that Jack Kirby deserves more credit for the success of the Marvel Universe than Stan Lee. Moreover, Kirby had significant input in many of the classic Marvel Universe issues as plotter! It’s impossible to imagine a single modern-day Marvel film without the contribution of Jack Kirby and yet, only with Avengers: Age of Ultron, was Kirby credited as a co-creator, alongside Stan Lee. This was, of course, due to a recent settlement between Marvel and Kirby’s estate.

Avengers002

However, to the layman movie goer and naive self-professed fan of the Marvel films, Stan Lee will always be thought of as the creator of the Marvel Universe, with each succeeding annoying cameo being shoved down everybody’s throat. But whilst Lee’s hokey self-aggrandisement continues to reveal the huckster that he has always been, the Kirby legacy can be seen by all – unwittingly – in every costume design and most importantly, every powerful fight scene!

Long live the King!

GEEK OUT! JARED LETO’S JOKER IS REVEALED

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Apr 252015
 

jaredletofinaljoker

Why so serious?

The Joker in Suicide Squad makes no sense to me at all. Can you imagine the Joker as a team player? So for me, that whole concept is already somewhat of a non starter.

But of course, Warners wanted a character that would conceivably sell tickets (nobody else in the Suicide Squad has that profile – Captain Boomerang?) and thus the rationale becomes crystal clear.

Remember the last time, geeks kicked up a fuss (pre-movie) about the Joker? The late Heath Ledger gave the performance of his life, which earned him a posthumous Academy Award (f0r a superhero film, no less). Therefore, as much as the tattoos seem very un-Joker-like (“Damaged”? Really?), seeing is believing and let’s watch the Suicide Squad before going ballistic.

I mean, it’s only a superhero comic book movie…

NATIVE AMERICAN ACTORS EXIT ADAM SANDLER’S MOVIE |Vulture

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Apr 242015
 

The actors found “repeated insults” in the film’s script.

Seriously, have these actors ever seen an Adam Sandler movie? Didn’t they know what they were getting themselves into, in the first place?
Lame.

Source: Native American Actors Exit Adam Sandler’s Movie — Vulture

GEEK OUT! AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON IS THE BEST SUPERHERO MOVIE EVER MADE SO FAR!

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Apr 232015
 

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-Poster

So much hyped up expectation for this sequel to the billion dollar making Avengers movie but guess what? It makes good on every single expectation and more! Director Joss Whedon fills up its 2-hour plus duration with so much comic book goodness that this geek was gushing throughout.

And as good as the original Avengers was, Age of Ultron somehow trumps it in so many ways. For one thing, the group dynamic is handled so well. We can see little smaller groups forming up that suggest camaraderie, shared mistrust and even romance. This push and pull amongst the Avengers gives the story much depth and superhero realism.

The plot line of course, as has been revealed in all the trailers involves villainous robot Ultron cutting his puppet strings and threatening to destroy the world. But really folks, it is much more. This feels like a stronger movie than the original – and how often can we say that about sequels?

For the comic book fan, the movie is chock full of so many nods, winks and references that this geek was smiling like an idiot throughout its duration. For the casual movie goer, the action, the humour and the epic drama will have you coming back again and again. I sincerely hope that this movie will also break the billion dollar barrier so that more movies like this will be made!

A moment of satisfaction arrived during the main credits when Jack “The King” Kirby FINALLY gets his due as a co-creator of The Avengers. About fucking time. But those in the know would have felt the spirit of the late great Kirby running through the MCU from day one i.e. Iron Man. This time around, the battle sequence in the church was shot like the finest Kirbyesque fight scene – the power and the glory!!

Suffice to say, this movie is essential viewing and at least THREE times, at that!

Avengers: Age of Ultron is showing at the cinemas now. 

 

 

GEEK OUT! FANTASTIC FOUR OFFICIAL TRAILER

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Apr 212015
 

FFTRAILER

Well well well. The most maligned superhero project of recent times has just delivered a very promising trailer. This Fantastic Four reboot generated quite a bit of hate for its casting, story ideas, quotes from director and cast etc but when one looks at this official trailer, one cannot deny that this has the potential to be a good superhero movie.

In fact, the trailer has a very MCU feel – from the humour to the realistic tone of the characterisation. It actually looks better than X-Men: Days of Future Past to me. Of course, the proof will be in the pudding ultimately and my main concern is how Dr. Doom will be portrayed but at this point, Fantastic Four is looking pretty good.

Fantastic Four will open in Singapore on 6th August. 

GEEK OUT! BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE OFFICIAL TRAILER #1

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Apr 182015
 

Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 1.39.44 pm

Warners have their work cut out to get ahead of Disney in the geek movie stakes. Man of Steel was the first salvo in its war effort. And it is certain that the reinvention of the DC universe in the movies is going to take quite a battering from Marvel fans, whilst it gets its act together.

The first proper look at what promises to be the beginning of a slew of Warners/DC movies – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer – demonstrates the uncompromising approach of director Zack Snyder and crew to a darker, grittier presentation of the DC characters.

Like in the Daredevil Netflix series, we are seeing the strong influence of Frank Miller’s 80s work (Dark Knight Returns) coming to bear on the DC universe. I am excited by the setup – that Superman is not accepted by the people of Earth (and after the events in Man of Steel, can you blame them?) and Batman has to confront Superman.

Of course, one cannot tell too much from a trailer but from what I have seen, this introduction to the Justice League looks very very promising.

In Snyder we trust!

… still there’s more … 

GEEK OUT! STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS TEASER TRAILER #2

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Apr 172015
 

SWTFA01

Yes the first teaser trailer was bewildering BUT this is the real deal right here.

With a Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamil) VO, thrilling shots of the new Star Wars universe (30 years from Return of the Jedi) and the appearance of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca, it feels like …. coming home indeed.

Beginning to feel that this will be the film of the year!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in Singapore on 17th December. 

GEEK OUT! NEW PICTURES FROM UPCOMING SUPERHERO MOVIES

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Apr 102015
 

Vision

The Vision gets the spotlight in this Avengers: Age of Ultron poster.

Thing

Entertainment drops a cool shot of the Thing from the Fantastic Four reboot.

Yellowjacket

First look at Yellowjacket from the Ant-Man movie.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 9.27.22 pm

Ok so not a movie but this is how Daredevil‘s traditional red costume is presented in the Netflix series.

 

… still there’s more … 

REEL TO REAL: FAST AND FURIOUS 7 – TRANSFORMERS WITH CARS

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Apr 062015
 

Furious_7_poster

Never watched any of the previous instalments of this lucrative franchise but not knowing anything about what happened in six previous chapters was an advantage. Yes, I know there was some back story as to why Jason Statham’s character (Deckard Shaw) had a bone to pick with Vin Diesel and his crew but it really did not matter.

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REEL TO REAL: COMING MOVIES – APRIL 2015

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Apr 012015
 

ultron

Seriously folks, the real movie season begins for film buffs on the 23rd when Avengers: Age of Ultron opens!

And just like the first quarter of the year, it’s slim pickings. But here are a couple of movies to consider this month.

Based on brand recognition alone, the 7th movie in the Fast and Furious franchise – viz. Furious 7 (opening on the 2nd) – is bound to be a big hit.

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GEEK OUT! CHAPPIE: A MOVIE ABOUT A.I. THAT IS ARTIFICIAL AND NOT VERY INTELLIGENT

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Mar 102015
 

chappie

DIRECTED BY NEILL BLOMKAMP
WRITTEN BY NEILL BLOMKAMP AND TERRI TATCHELL
STARRING SHARLTO COPLEY, DEV PATEL, JOSE PABLO CANTILLO, HUGH JACKMAN AND SIGOURNEY WEAVER.

A movie about a sentient robot is nothing new, of course. To the credit of its director, Chappie starts out as a distinctive and unique take on the subject matter. Despite early lapses in logic – why is it so easy for rival engineers Deon Wilson (Patel) and Vincent Moore (Jackman) to mess around with their employer Tetravaal’s assets – there is a certain naive charm about Copley’s Chappie and its relationship with the colourful gangsters (Ninja, Yolandi and America). The sequences where Ninja and America teach Chappie to commit crimes is frankly hilarious.

But the moment Moore activates his diabolical plan, Blomkamp throws logic to the wind and the convenient plot devices stack up in the manner that was too prevalent on Blomkamp’s last movie, Elysium. The movie then no longer makes any sense – again the utter lack of security at Tetravaal is ridiculous – with the added silliness of the whole consciousness transfer being the last straw that reduces this initially promising scifi flick into a steaming pile of crap.

The thought of Blomkamp screwing around with the Aliens franchise next is an extremely disturbing one. Sigh.

GEEK OUT! REMEMBERING LEONARD NIMOY (1931 – 2015)

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Feb 282015
 

Nimoy

I grew up in the 60s and thus Star Trek was a massive influence on my love for science fiction and space opera. Leonard Nimoy in his role as Mr. Spock was instrumental in making Star Trek the iconic series it has become almost 50 years later. Nimoy passed away on 27th February at the age of 83. One of his final memorable roles was as Dr William Bell in Fringe, where even in his latter years, he was an imposing presence. He will never be forgotten.

Found this moving tribute at Youtube from The New York Times.

Live long and prosper, Mr Nimoy…

Feb 272015
 

Chappie poster

So… February was largely disappointing for new movies. Kingsman: The Secret Service was alright but Jupiter Ascending was abysmal. Sigh. Pray March will be better.

5th March

CHAPPIE
Directed by Neill Blomkamp.
Starring Hugh Jackman and Dev Patel.

Getting somewhat nervous about this one. Blomkamp did not do too well with Elysium and the idea of sentient robot is not exactly original, is it? Jackman is in it as well, as I generally do not like any movie he’s in. Ah well.

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GEEK OUT! FANTASTIC FOUR REBOOT – EMPIRE PRESENTS FIRST PICTURES!

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Feb 262015
 

Well, it’s been slim pickings regarding the Fantastic Four reboot even after the release of the teaser trailer. But Empire has first pictures and here they are!

FF-3

It’s Reed Richards (Miles Teller) in some kind of astronaut suit with Tim Blake Nelson (who is playing the Mole Man) in the background.

FF-1

Susan Storm (Kate Mara) in a black outfit with bodies on the floor.

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GEEK OUT! THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE FILMS – LEGIT OR HYPE?

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Feb 212015
 

Marvel_Studios

10 films that have changed the face of the movie industry. 10 films that exist within an unprecedented shared universe. 10 films that have collectively grossed over US$7 billion worldwide. Yes, there’s no doubt that commercially, the MCU films have done fantastically well but what about creatively? Can the films stand up to critical scrutiny or is their popularity a product of marketing hype and nothing more? Let’s investigate.

IRON MAN (2008)

IronMan-1

You know the story. Grossing over $500 million worldwide, Iron Man was an unexpected mega-hit for Marvel Studios’ first venture, marking the comeback of Robert Downey Jr and making the movie industry sit up and take notice. The post-credits scene was used for the first time, to introduce the concept of the MCU to movie audiences as Nick Fury said the words “Avengers Initiative” as a promise of things to come. Putting aside the milestones, it’s worthy to remember that this Jon Favreau-helmed film was very well made with strong performances from Jeff Bridges (Obadiah Stane), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) and Terence Howard (James Rhodes). The age of Marvel (films) had begun. (9/10)

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GEEK OUT! JUPITER ASCENDING IS A PIECE OF CRAP THAT EVEN MICHAEL BAY WOULD BE ASHAMED OF

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Feb 172015
 

JupiterJones

Written and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowskis.
Starring Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean & Eddie Redmayne.

Where do I begin? The fact that Jupiter Ascending had two previous release dates in 2014 before settling on February 2015 was already cause of concern. Add to that the dodgy trailer hinted of a ridiculously fantastical plot, lame dialogue and over the top epic sequences did not help comfort the unease.

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GEEK OUT! KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE IS OVER THE TOP DARK COMIC FUN

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Feb 132015
 

kingsman

Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Written by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn
Starring Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine.

This movie adaptation of the Mark Millar – Dave Gibbons comic (co-plotted by Vaughn) has a lot going for it. Strong cast, comic timing and fantastical settings. Underpinned by Millar’s stock in trade themes of the unlikely hero being thrust into an unimaginable new world (previously explored in Kick Ass and Wanted).

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GEEK OUT! OUR FIRST SCIFI TURKEY OF THE YEAR – VICE

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Jan 302015
 

Vice_poster

VICE
Directed by Brian A. Miller
Starring Thomas Jane and Bruce Willis.

B-grade scifi of the worst kind. Nothing even makes any sense whatsoever.
Premise – VICE is the ultimate paradise, where patrons can commit any crime they want without fear – as the offenses are perpetuated on androids (or “artificials” as they are called in the movie).

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REEL TO REAL: COMING MOVIES FOR FEB 2015

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Jan 292015
 

Jupiter-Ascending

And January is almost over! Time to ponder the coming movies in February 2015.

5th February 

STILL ALICE
Directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland
Starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart

Another movie about suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Nothing frightens more than losing one’s memory permanently. Moore is nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for this one, so her performance is probably worth the price of admission. Get the hankies out though.

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