Saturday, April 28

Film: Avengers: Infinity War Click for more info

The most amazing thing about Infinity War is in fact how they managed to actually pull it off. In all other contexts and attempts it would have been impossible to create a film that sufficiently gathers the momentum and energy of its previous 18(!) films... But here we are. But aside from that feat the film itself was a joy to behold, both in terms of entertainment and technical accomplishment. I don't think I've seen a single film so fun, energetic, emotional, pumped, well produced, balanced, acted or directed before.

The only real flaw is that as a standalone movie it probably won't make a lot of sense. This has to be watched as the 19th episode of an epic, but I'm guessing for most people that's not really a flaw at all.

Absolutely stunning and sublime, Infinity War gets nothing less than an utmost recommendation. I'm still buzzing just thinking about it, and I expect that to last till my next viewing of the movie.

Wednesday, April 18

Film: Rampage Click for more info

Ah, Rampage. It's one of the first games I remember playing with excitement - the characters! The destruction! The ability to play with three players! So yes, I will fully admit I went into this with some expectation of a nostalgia fix.

But it turns out that Rampage manages to balance precisely on that fine line between flagrant fanservice and having a decent identity of its own - yes homages were paid, but the good (and bad) of the film were wholly owned by it.

Other than that, Rampage is an action film with CGI and Dwayne Johnson, so you don't actually need a review to tell you what to expect. It provides exactly what is promised, and so whether that's something you'll want or not is for you to decide. I for one really liked it so it receives a hearty recommendation from me.

Tuesday, April 10

Film: A Quiet Place Click for more info

At 90 minutes long, A Quiet Place is a blessed example of efficiency in film-making. There's not much fat in a film that is already lean - along with the plot device that means there's not much talking means that the film has to rely on some really great production and depth to carry itself.

And it really does. There really isn't much to complain about here. I was on the edge of my seat for most of it, the story flowed at a steady pace from the start, and by the end of it all I was so invested in the family around which the film is centered that it all become more than just another scary film for me.

Definitely recommended.

Monday, April 9

Book: Caliban's War, James S. A. Corey Click for more info

A marked improvement on the first book, Caliban's War brought me some of the things I felt were missing from the world of a well explored solar system. We now have politicking, some out there science, dogfights and even a bit of character progression. It's still not perfect science fiction, but if it continues on the trajectory it does promise to be something great.

In the meantime I have watched the first book's worth of the TV show (which perversely took me to the middle of season 2), and it turns out that my hope that the visualisation of a book would be better entertainment was once again misplaced; although a decent enough show it did feel a little bit rushed and patchworked. It remains to be seen if it can pull the same trajectory as the books so far do.

Wednesday, April 4

Film: Ready Player One Click for more info

I wrote about my thoughts of the book here, making a bold claim that by virtue of its medium a movie would fix all the issues I had with the novel. I actually happened to be right for once - most of the flaws had been fixed as visuals trumped expectations of depth. What I was implicitly wrong about however was that the movie would be a better experience overall - as while it did fix the issues with the source material it brought just as many of its own to the table. The result is a film that will not be the classic it deserved to be, but more of a cash in for the millennials.

Kudos to the makers for not relying on the fanservice too much, but that which was there wasn't as relevant to the plot as it had been in the book. It appeared that it had been included only for the reference hunters ("runters"?) amongst us, and not to further the story. As a result, the film lost most of excellent "referential depth" which made the book so enjoyable. The moralising was dumbed down (and as a result felt a little patronising) while no space was left for any of the characters to develop much - I didn't really care for much of them.

There were also pacing issues, with none of the challenges seeming that challenging, and the whole thing kind of ends a little too quickly.

Like the book, Ready Player one is probably not a movie I'm going to watch more than I need to - it'll probably get a rewatch on home release but that's about it. It's pretty disappointing to consider what a missed opportunity it turned out to be.

Tuesday, April 3

Film: Cake Click for more info

Apart from a few shaky plot developments, Cake was actually quite good. It was a bit of a Kapoor and Sons lite, exploring the reunion of a family taken apart (and put back together again) by tragedy and deceit. The excellent acting came second to the production, with some of the most mature cinematography taking centre stage, and overall the story was a solid one.

There are flaws however: some mild schizophrenia from some of the characters and some slight pacing and timing issues - these led to the aforementioned shaky plot developments, but overall you would be able to look past them if you wanted to.

If this is a sign of Pakistani film-making to come then I can't wait. For now though Cake gets a firm recommendation in my book.