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Quick Thoughts: Airplane Edition

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A few weeks ago I was on a 6-hour plane flight, followed immediately by a 15-hour flight. Just now I was again on a plane, first on a 2-hour flight, then a 12-hour flight, then another 2-hour flight. I probably spent the majority of the time staring into nothingness as I listened to the entire discography of Twenty One Pilots 3 times, but I managed to fit in a few movies into the 37 HOURS that I spent on a plane (holy crap). By the way, in case you were wondering, here’s an infographic of how to use a life vest that I took a picture of:

Anyways, here are some thoughts that I had while I watched them. Keep in mind, I was probably half asleep when watching half of these, so there really isn’t too much attention to detail here. I’m gonna start with the movies that I remember pretty clearly, and then work my way down to a short, probably meaningless review.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) Director: Gore Verbinski Genre: Action, Adventure Cast: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush Ro…

Update

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Recently I re-read some of my older posts, and honestly, I was cringing pretty hard. I’m not going to rewrite them simply because I’m way too lazy to, but I think the main issue is that I was trying to be too formal. In hindsight, having to evaluate movies on so many different characteristics was a pretty unnecessary burden that I put on myself; it forced me to include things into my reviews that I simply didn’t really think as super important. In addition, it really made me think about what and how I was writing, which is extremely draining for me (welp I’m studying CS not English). This is why you probably noticed that I haven’t written anything in a really (like really) long time.
There’s two main things that I want to change about my reviews going on forward. First is the content. I don’t want to be restricting myself to writing about specific content, so I’ve decided to make future posts literally like a stream of my thoughts, with no drastic attempt to organize it into a cohesi…

My Thoughts On: The Garden of Words (2013)

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The Garden of Words

Year Released: 2013
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Lead Actors/Actresses: Miyu Irino, Kana Hanazawa

Rotten Tomatoes Score: N/A



My

Score: 6

Just as a disclaimer, I have only watched this movie only one time (and as of now I plan to keep it that way) so in no way is this post comprehensive; I’m just writing down the thoughts and conclusions that my friend and I arrived after watching it in our spare time :).

To be completely honest, I’m not too acquainted with the genre of anime drama films. Unfortunately, Your Name (2016) never really stood out to me. However, I’m definitely looking to explore other films in the coming months.

Now for the actual film: The Garden of Words was directed by Makoto Shinkai, the same director of Your Name, the highest grossing anime movie of all time. It’s very short, only around 45 minutes, following the friendship between two main characters, a student who aspires to become a shoemaker, and his teacher. At the beginning of …

A Plot Analysis of Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

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I recently re-watched one of my favorite movies, Edge of Tomorrow (2014), and it got me thinking once again about the complex plot and how everything worked out in the end. If you read multiple reviews made by professional movie critics, you'll find that many thought that the overall film was solid, but had issue with how the movie ended. In particular, most critics believed that in an effort make the movie finish on a high note, director Doug Liman completed ruined what had been a structurally sound (in regards to time travel) plot up until that point. While I do agree that the ending did ruin part of the suspense of the last action scenes, I wasn't too irritated by it because it stayed in line with the movie's overall comedic tone. Indeed, this was part of the reason why Liman and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie chose to end the movie on a much happier note, instead of the original darker, more somber ending that All You Need is Kill had originally ended with. Instead…

My Thoughts On: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

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Spider-Man: Homecoming

Year Released: 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Action
Director: Jon Watts
Lead Actors/Actresses: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92


My Score: 7

Although being a remake, the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spiderman, is quite unlike any of its previous versions. Because of this, the movie brings a whole new flavor and look to one of our favorite superheroes, making it a very enjoyable and exciting experience.

First off, I really liked how Watts approached making this film. With Spider-Man: Homecoming being the third iteration of the character, one of the main concerns I had going in was that it would be too boring and repetitive. We had already seen this with The Amazing Spiderman movies (which in my opinion, were a gigantic failure), which completely repeated the events from the original Spiderman movie, all in order to set up the origin story. Even though some plot points were changed slightly, almost everybody already…

My Thoughts On: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

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Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Year Released: 2006
Genre: Comedy
Director: Larry Charles
Lead Actors/Actresses: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91



My Score: 7

Borat is perhaps one of the most well known comedic characters, and for good reason. With Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen takes a completely different and unique approach towards comedy. Filmed in a mockumentary style, the movie follows an offensive, clueless Kazakh journalist Borat (portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen) as he travels across the US, encountering different people and learning from their culture (while imparting some of his own). The thing that makes this film stand out so much is that there are only roughly 4 cast members: Borat, his assistant, Pamela Anderson, and a hooker named Luenell; all of the other characters in the film are actual Americans unaware that they are being filmed for a comedy movie. With this in mind, watching Borat becomes an even…

My Thoughts On: The BFG (2016)

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The BFG

Year Released: 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Director: Steven Spielberg
Lead Actors/Actresses: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74


My Score: 6

Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of The BFG by Roald Dahl is something that almost every child will enjoy. In particular, the visuals of the film were fantastic, full of color and motion. All of the CGI involved in creating the BFG and the other giants was constructive to the film, not taking away from the real actor’s emotions. In addition, scenes such as the one involving switching gravity near the dream tree were very creative, and I enjoyed them very much. In terms of visual effects, I really respect Spielberg for taking a giant leap with making a child’s imagination come onto the large screen.

Furthermore, in addition to the fascinating cinematography, another great part of the film is the acting. Rylance and Barnhill had amazing chemistry together, and Barnhill especially was able to convey so much emotion and wond…

My Thoughts On: Kong: Skull Island (2017)

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Kong: Skull Island

Year Released: 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Action
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Lead Actors/Actresses: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76


My Score: 5

Kong: Skull Island brings a new addition to the MonsterVerse franchise, joining Godzilla (2014), and it is entirely what you would expect from a monster movie. The movie is almost exactly like what the trailer implies, with plenty of action and beautiful visuals, but not much in terms of plot and character development. It’s really a movie that you can relax and enjoy, especially when you’re trying to not think about anything too hard, but it’s nothing special compared to others.

Starting off with the good parts, the cinematography was above average. I especially liked how Vogt-Roberts was able to creatively transition between completely different scenes, such as the one between somebody getting eaten and another person eating a sandwich. The film itself is very beautiful,…

My Thoughts On: Power Rangers (2017)

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Power Rangers

Year Released: 2017
Genre: Science Fiction, Action
Director: Dean Israelite
Lead Actors/Actresses: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Ludi Lin, Becky G, RJ Cyler, Elizabeth Banks

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 46


My Score: 3

Israelite took a very unique taste to his version of Power Rangers; overall, he attempts to make the theme of the film to be much darker and realistic, incorporating the social hardships and family issues that each character faces to really emphasize their “outcast” status, all the while maintaining the series’ original cheesiness. Unfortunately, this combination of grittiness and cheesiness in the same film simply does not work for me.

The entire first half of the movie is dedicated to building up each of the characters, and the backstories are told very seriously, with deep messages hidden within each of them. However, as soon as the Power Rangers become Power Rangers, they lose all of their individualities. Their fight scenes with Rita (a very cheesy villain)…

My Thoughts On: Before I Fall (2017)

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Before I Fall

Year Released: 2017
Genre: Drama
Director: Ry Russo-Young
Lead Actors/Actresses: Zoey Deutch

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67


My Score: 6

Before I Fall is another Groundhog Day-esque young adult film, and it takes a very simple approach towards describing a pretty simple concept: a young girl realizing who she really is, and how to cherish her life. Overall, the story was portrayed fairly well. However, there were a few pacing issues. In particular, I felt as if the first iteration of the time loop took very long; the main purpose that it served was to establish Sam’s popularity and mean girl status, which could already be inferred within the first 10 minutes. In addition, as the film progresses, different events start to scatter the plot. This became a bigger problem at the end of the movie, during the last iteration of Sam’s life, in which she attempts to help and address everybody, but nonetheless is not able to address everybody adequately (for example, the lesbian girl wit…

My Thoughts On: The Prestige (2006)

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The Prestige

Year Released: 2006
Genre: Science Fiction, Drama
Director: Christopher Nolan
Lead Actors/Actresses: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76


My Score: 10

The Prestige is one of the most intricate (and yet simple) movies that I have ever watched, and it is so beautifully crafted. It’s storytelling and plot, along with its editing, is expertly put together in a way that not only keeps the audience’s attention throughout the entire movie, but also tricks the viewer so many different times. Throughout the movie, each reveal is excellently timed in a way that shocks the audience, and it is able to do this again and again as the two magicians attempt to outsmart each other, create new magic tricks, or ruin the other’s show. At the ultimate reveal, when you look back at the hints scattered throughout the entire movie (even from the very first shot), you can’t help but think how obvious it should have been the entire time. Indeed,…

My Thoughts On: Wonder Woman (2017)

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Wonder Woman

Year Released: 2017
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Director: Patty Jenkins
Lead Actors/Actresses: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93


My Score: 8

Jenkins’ entire approach towards this film was, I believe, the best possible way to direct a film about Wonder Woman. The entire movie is actually a flashback from present-day Diana, which I think is a good way to connect this movie to the rest of the DCEU (much like Captain America: The First Avenger).

The most stand-out aspect of this movie was the acting. Amazing acting by Gadot and Pine; they had great chemistry together. Gadot was especially impressive for her dedication to the role (I think she was pregnant at some point?). From her action sequences, to her rambling dialogue, to her comedic moments, to her emotional commitment, Gadot is on point. The movie is able to expertly weave between banter and action, and the short comedic moments are hilarious. The thing that stands out about this DC movie was its focus on char…

My Thoughts On: War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

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War for the Planet of the Apes

Year Released: 2017
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction, Action
Director: Matt Reeves
Lead Actors/Actresses: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95


My Score: 7/8

If you go into watching War for the Planet of the Apes expecting the same action, fighting, and “war” that you saw in Rise and Dawn, I’m sorry to say that you will be disappointed; War is completely unlike any of its predecessors in the Planet of the Apes trilogy. Despite being titled “War for the Planet of the Apes.” this movie is much less of an action war movie, and more of a drama film telling the final chapter of Caesar’s life. Whereas Caesar was young, energetic, and powerful in the previous films, he has gotten much older and wearier from battle, so the film instead focuses much more on his emotions and feelings as he nears the end of his life. Although the replacement of the action-drama mixture of the previous two films with pure drama certainly does not make War for the Plane…

My Thoughts On: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Year Released: 2014
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction, Action
Director: Matt Reeves
Lead Actors/Actresses: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90


My Score: 9

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is by far my favorite film in this new trilogy, and for good reason: unlike War (the third film), it brings the perfect mixture of action and drama, and it offers an entire new layer of of complexity compared to Rise (the first film). Whereas the first film was merely focused on the struggle between apes and humans, with humans portrayed as the immoral, evil side and the audience really rooting for Caesar and his apes, Dawn clarifies this previous message to clearly show how the apes are truly mirrors of humans themselves by pitting ape against ape. And just how Koba represents the hatred and evil in apes, Malcolm (played by Clarke) represents the empathy and morality in the humans. In the end, this movie brings Caesar into a whole new level of maturity and u…

My Thoughts On: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Year Released: 2011
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction, Action
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Lead Actors/Actresses: Andy Serkis, James Franco

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81


My Score: 8

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the first movie of the new, rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy, and it honestly seemed to come out of nowhere. Despite having a very simple premise (apes start taking over the world), the Planet of the Apes franchise has always evoked deep thought into human behavior and questioned our perspectives of society. This movie in particular tackles multiple issues, addressing concepts such as freedom as well as questioning the moralities behind genetic engineering and animal drug testing.

First, I want to commend Rise of the Planet of the Apes for telling the story so fluently and gracefully. The entire story is told from the perspective of an ape, Caesar, we as the audience are so easily able to connect with how lonely and constrained Caesar feels throughout t…