‘Ghost In The Shell’ (2017) Review

Ghost In The Shell (2017) Review: Easy On The Eyes, Hard To Watch 'Ghost In The Shell' is the long awaited live action adaptation of the Manga of the same name. Set in the not too distant future, its world is refined and uninviting. Instead of clamouring for the latest and greatest smartphone, the inhabitants of the movie covet technology that shifts the makeup of their very being. Eyes are swapped for binoculars and fingers are multiplied. The crowning achievement of this techno evolution is Major. A cyborg with the mind of a human, who just happens to be the hero of this story.Major is played by Scarlett Johansson. A casting that has sparked controversy, since the role she's playing has always been a Japanese woman. For all the noise surrounding it though, nothing in 'Ghost In The Shell' really merits discussion. Johannsen plays a haunted soul, desperate to cling onto the humanity she has left in her cold unfeeling body. What comes through is her pain and anguish, but is delivered with as much engagement as a Kindergarten teacher at nap time.I was fighting sleep for a good chunk of 'Ghost In The Shell'. Time and time again the movie gave me situations to understand, but no characters to empathize with. Pity that the bland characterization, could not match the astounding visuals the movie offers. The world of 'Ghost In The Shell' is tonally bleak but aesthetically vibrant. In 1982, Blade…

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‘Power Rangers’ (2017) Review

Power Rangers (2017) Review: Flawed, But Fun When the 5 teenagers we’ve come to know and love finally don their armour, the evil Rita Repulsa remarks how cute it is that they finally have their super suits and dinosaur robots. She says this with an irony that is present all throughout the film. A movie that reveres its source material, just as much as it irreverently mocks it. That source material is, of course, the ‘Power Rangers’ television show, in which 5 teenagers with attitude are given incredible abilities, and tasked with defending the Earth from alien attackers. The film follows the same basic formula, but with slightly better visuals than the low budget tv show it hails from. Still, there’s nothing here that you won’t find in the last Transformers movie.Truly, ‘Power Rangers’ is less its own property but more an amalgam of films done better. It takes its cues from ‘The Breakfast Club’, ‘Chronicle’, ‘Pacific Rim’, and others. It wears its references on its sleeve but feels like a cheap copy in some instances. Despite not feeling wholly original, the movie manages to maintain an energy to it that keeps you engaged with its light tone and enjoyable moments.This is just my personal preference. As obvious as that might be for a review based on my own opinion, I feel it should be emphasised in the case of this movie. Many times I saw something in the movie that would…

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‘Beauty And The Beast’ (2017) Review

Beauty And The Beast (2017) Review: Magic Brought To Life Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is the latest animated classic to get the live action treatment. While some might see it as a soulless cash in on nostalgia, others will revel in the chance to see a new spin on the tale as old as time. Personally, I’m not offended by Disney’s live action remakes. I see them as cinematic stage plays, giving a story I once knew, new life.‘Beauty and the Beast’ is not the riskiest of remakes. Much of the film is a loving recreation of its source material. That love can be overbearing at times, as you sit in the theatre wondering what you’re getting that you couldn’t with the original picture. The places where it does make changes are a welcome break from its slavish adaptation, that is at best, a touching reminder of what you once knew, and at worst, an embarrassing imitation.The most consistent part of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, is how stunning it is to look at. Particularly the Beast’s enchanted castle, and all its inhabitants. The characters lose their animated charm, but what they gain is an impressive amount of heart. When the objects talk of the lives they led before they became furniture, it rings truer coming from what looks like a candlestick, than a cartoon.The translation isn’t always effective. Most notably in the part of Gaston, played by Luke Evans, whose larger…

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‘Kong: Skull Island’ (2017) Review

Kong Skull Island (2017) Review: The Bigger The Better The eighth wonder of the world is back in theatres this week. I can’t count the number of times King Kong has graced the silver screen, but ‘Kong Skull Island’ is his latest, but not the greatest. This modern take on the classic film is set in a post-Vietnam war 1973. The perfect time period to find military presence in the south pacific. The very same region of Skull Island. Scientist and opportunist Bill Randa, played by John Goodman, decides to make use of that presence, and charter a "research expedition" on Skull Island itself. Once they get there, they must survive the land of monsters, and chief of all, Kong himself.Much like Godzilla in the 2014 film of the same name, Kong is more or less a force of nature in this film. His savagery is what comes across in this iteration. There are still hints of humanity to the giant ape, especially since Kong spends most of his time on two legs instead of four. However, even that is used to juxtapose Kong’s brutal nature against the very humans who fear him. There’s a running theme of “who are the real monsters?” running through the film. For those seeking a deep dissertation, search elsewhere. The film doesn't want to be anything more than a fun popcorn movie.There are other ideas at play, even using the adventure as an allegory for the…

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‘Logan’ (2017) Review

Logan (2017) Review: A Superhero Movie Your Dad Will Like. 2009 saw the release of 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine'. A movie that has been called one of the worst superhero movies of all time. By me. Several times. Despite that movie's critical failure, there was the release of 'The Wolverine' back in 2013. James Mangold was in the director's chair, and it marked true detachment from the rest of the X-Men franchise. It seemed like a step in the right direction, albeit a half step, with a third act that brings down an otherwise stellar film. If a mostly bad movie and a mostly good movie is what had to happen to bring 'Logan' to life, the world is much better for it.Set in the not too distant future of 2029, 'Logan' is an X-Men movie quite unlike any other. Gone are the black jumpsuits and supersonic jets. All that remains is Hugh Jackman, playing Logan for the 8th and final time. Logan must come to terms with his own mortality, something that's eluded him for the last century or so. Despite wanting nothing more than to be left alone, he's forced back into acts of heroism, when a young girl, the first mutant to be born in decades, shows up at his doorstep. Logan must take her to a place safe for their kind. One that may or may not exist.On that journey, you'll also find an aged and decrepit Professor Xavier,…

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