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Kong Skull Island Review (2017) | Solely Fuelled by Visuals and Theatrics

Every era has its Kong. Following that dictum comes our very own version of it, but Kong Skull Island comes nowhere close to what Peter Jackson had managed to accomplish in the year 2005. It was an epic film, brimming with emotions, and unpredictable action. Timeless, that can never be forgotten. Au contraire, Kong Skull Island is quite the opposite when it comes to story building. You feel it rushing towards the action front, banks on only visuals and theatrics to wade through and even though it manages to be something, it ends up becoming nothing but an adrenaline shot that fades away the moment you leave the theatres.

Kong Diaries: The Primal Theme

Kong Skull Island rushes in without a good story to balance it properly on rails of sobriety. It is storming off at a huge pace to meet the action part just so we reach the fruition Legendary expects of it. Kong Skull Island is definitely going somewhere, and we know where (to defy Godzilla openly in the future releases) but you could read that desperation in it, and that’s what makes it highly ambitious. In that skittish attempt to reach an end, it decimates our age-old superhero into nothing but an ass whopping monster. But it is so much more. You know it, I know it, and everybody who has ever seen King Kong on the big screen before is well aware of it.

If you take a look at the action part, it has been brilliantly depicted. It’s what you expect a good action movie to pack in. But the frail storyline forces you to squelch your way towards all the action. What’s that, you ask? Well read on to find out.

still of kong from kong skull island movie

Plot of Kong Skull Island (Spoilers Ahead)

As the title gives away, the flick wasn’t meant to be shot at home ground (just yet). So it was naturally the Kong Land where all the action was supposed to happen.

Enters Bill Randa played by John Goodman trying to convince senator Willis to get them to a wretched ill-fated island that’s also shaped like a skull. He has Houston Brooks done by Corey Hawkins by his side who successfully convinces Willis to pursue their mission on the grounds of “something fishy going on there”, and that the unexplored could house hidden treasures which their country should be the first to exploit.

Slapped on a mission that could use some adroit help, they pay up Captain James Conrad played by Tom Hiddleston good to accompany them in their adventure. They manage the escort Sky Devils, which is a helicopter squadron headed by Preston Packard (who else but our very own Samuel L. Jackson).

Mason Weaver played by Brie Larson who is a pacifist photojournalist joins them after, and their little family thus feels complete.

A camera does a lot more damage than a gun.

The Skull Island

They storm into a storm, the only thing stopping them from seeing what’s hidden, as Preston delivers a confident speech on how their choppers are capable of going anywhere come what may. On reaching there, the seismologist Houston Brooks begins his science experiment by dropping bombs to check if the ground is hollow. That’s when they encounter a flying tree that takes one of the choppers down.

Is that a monkey?

Amidst theatrics and slo-mo enters the king, the one and only Kong. Drums please!

He delivers his fury on the remaining flyers, as they crash and split into two groups. Their last hope is to escape the island by visiting the resupply team at the northern end in three days. But to Packard, for whom everything is personal, (he has, by the way, looked into the eyes of Kong after all) slaying the monster is somehow of paramount importance. Bill Randa spills the beans to a gunpoint saying his real motive was to prove to the world that monsters exist, and that they are waiting for their chance to re-claim earth.

Skullcrawlers

The rest of the flick tries to bring us up to speed to the real monsters, Skullcrawlers thus showing Kong as a Good Samaritan, the king of the Island who is willing to do whatever it takes to help creatures in need. We meet Hank Marlow played by John C. Reilly a crazy American pilot who had crash-landed on the Island in the 40s.

I guess no man comes home from war, not really.

He tells them about the local natives Iwi, who had built walls to keep Skullcrawlers at bay. They used to worship Kong, the only God they had ever come across, who took care of anything that threatened their existence.

Marlow also tells them about “The Big One” preparing us for an imminent Boss fight of course. He tells them the Big Skullcrawler could have awakened if those bomb shenanigans were not stopped by Kong.

Forbidden Zone

In hopes to find another one of their members, the team ends up reaching the Forbidden Zone, where Kong’s parents had once fought Skullcrawlers ages ago. They are attacked by a Skullcrawler there, with a lot of deliberate theatrics to give you the feels of how tough defeating a Skullcrawler really is.

still of tom hiddleston and brie larson in kong skull island movie

A vengeful Packard with hopes to lay the simian down uses all the seismic bombs to trigger multiple explosions luring Kong into a trap.

It’s time to show Kong that man is king!

After bringing Kong down to his knees, he is busy preparing charges to blow up the beast, when Conrad intervenes to stop him. Owing to all that kabooms, “The Big One” aka “Ramarak” appears from the ground decimating everything and everyone that came in its way.

Kong tries to fight it off but fails in Round One. But in the final stand-off theatrically rips the monster’s guts out scoring one for Team Kong.

When the remaining people are trying to escape the Island, we find a furious Kong eyeing resupply choppers that are coming to help the stranded.

When the curtain drops, we find Hank Marlow reuniting with his family. There’s also one post credit scene in the movie that makes an allusion on the presence of other monsters on our planet. Cave paintings depict images of Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah, other monsters that Legendary had painted and will paint on the big screen in their upcoming releases.

You can order Kong Skull Island here:

Theatrical Hoot

Visuals of Kong Skull Island are pretty great. For a film that is literally thriving on it and being driven by it, I think its one of those crucial factors that the producers spent on plenty.

Toby Kebbell‘s Kong even though easily identifiable looks pretty badass on screen. The 100 foot tall simian is beastly and angry. It almost becomes successful in filling the shoes of what Andy Serkis had left us with. Pretty hard to beat, huh?

At times the screenplay becomes pretty good too. It keeps on delivering us lines that make you ponder.

Hank Marlow: Who’s winning the war?

James Conrad: Which one?

Hank Marlow: That makes sense.

Other Major Issues

Apart from the cardinal issue of not banking on a befitting story for us to feast on, Kong Skull Island doesn’t retain focus. Its nimble frames spoil your mood, and in that ambitious subtlety of Jordan Vogt-Roberts it becomes nothing but a fast forwarded wrestling match. It only stops, whenever it stops, to display a rad chopper shot in slo-mo or an angle that Jordan deemed necessary somehow to shoot because in his head it must have mattered beyond limit.

ramarak skullcrawler the big one in kong skull island

I think Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston were nothing but wasted talents in a flick that only cared about theatrics. There’s no fitting stop, pause or breathe-moment where you get to actually see and feel for its characters.

They shouldn’t have agreed to do this flick in the first place. Whilst Tom’s shoes were easy to feel, anyone could have done what he did back there, Brie seems out of place too. She ends up becoming nothing but an irritating selfie woman who has to take photographs no matter how fatal the situation appears to be.

Death happens in a jiffy, without giving you time to experience grief. It’s been written like a glib with dispensable characters.

The Final Verdict

If you are planning to put Kong Skull Island up for comparison against the previous one, just a request – simply don’t! The movie doesn’t retain even an ounce of gravitas. It is merely for visual and theatrics, and to thrill you with its fight scenes, and to of course pave way for future sequels.

Legendary is obsessed with their monsters. They were promising us a monster hopscotch, and so we are going to get one. Just be patient. I think it must be around the corner.

You can watch the trailer of Kong Skull Island here:

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Review (2016) | Fantastic Plot

Tim Burton‘s knack for the queer continues. This time he picks up Ransom Riggs‘s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children off the shelves. But the big question is he able to deliver a proper literary adaptation? The answer is not quite. I would say Miss Peregrine ends up becoming a tad unremarkable for its remarkable tale. However, its story can’t be overlooked either. If you pay heed to the plot of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, you will realize that it takes one hell of an imagination to think something so beautiful! For that I can’t thank Ransom Rigg enough.

Plot of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Spoilers Ahead)

If you take the beautiful plot of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children into account, you will be surprised to know how intriguing its story-line is. It skims on the surface of time loops that is an adventurous topic per se. Jake, played by the meek mien of Asa Butterfield, is visiting his grandfather Abe who used to babysit him when he was young.

Grandfather Abe

Abe would tell him stories about peculiar children showing him photographs that would tingle his senses. In his story a Lady Peregrine, who could turn into a bird (Peregrine good guess there!), used to take care of the children with strange mutant like abilities in a huge house. However, growing up, Jake came to believe, all his stories were nothing but sham. Lost faith in his Grampa’s vision, he ends up going aloof from him.

still of the peculiar children in miss peregrine movie

Once when paying his Grampa a visit, he encounters a strange man standing in the middle of the road, some blocks ahead of Grampa’s abode. Clueless he moves on. On reaching there, he finds his grandfather dead and without his eyes. Before dying Abe asks Jake about a bird, a loop and the year 1940. Confused Jake fails to understand, when he finds a gargantuan tentacled beast in the woods. Aftermath, he ends up in therapy.

Visiting Cairnholm Island

His constant struggle with what his grandfather was trying to tell him, compels him to visit an island called Cairnholm to look for clues. He coaxes his father into taking him there. Jake finds the house of the peculiars there, however it’s in tatters owing to a certain German bomb attack that had burnt the house to cinders in 1940. Trying to satiate his curiosity, the bold Jake ventures in to have a look. He finds photos of the children that confirms his Grandfather’s stories. But then out of the blue he finds them all alive. Scared he tries to run, but ends up knocking himself out.

Brilliance of Time Loops

That’s when the plot of the story starts shaping up too. On waking up, and realizing they were for real he follows the children to a cave. Unknowingly, he enters a time loop that takes him to 1940. He finds the Peculiar Home intact. That’s when he gets to meet the gorgeous Peregrine lady played by Eva Green. Miss Peregrine is an Ymbryne who can manipulate time. She has, along with her children, taken refuge in a time loop that she had created moments before the bomb attack.

still of eva green as miss peregrine in miss peregrine's home for peculiar children

The beauty of this very concept lies in its surreal poetry. Every single day living the same life over and over again, knowing everyday is going to end with that same wretched bomb dropping from the sky. Every single day goes by without them ageing, in constant fear of being discovered, and trying to hide under the blankets of time. Such a beautiful thought! But unfortunately, Tim Burton doesn’t milk this enough. The beauty of its poesy disappears along with its constantly running frames. You can’t help but blame the movie’s sped up editing for it.

Dark Antagonists

Like any yarn, galloping towards a direction, we are introduced to elements of perversion here as well. They are called Hollowgasts or simply Hollows, people who became monsters as a result of an experiment gone wrong. Misshapen they can’t be seen with naked eyes (unless you are Jake or Abe of course). Hollows hunt for peculiars as that’s their only chance to become a tad normal. They are known as Wights. Barron is the head of the wights who has been trying to hunt down more Ymbrynes to continue his experiments of immortality.

still of a hollowgast or hollow in miss peregrine movie

The real tension begins when Mr. Barron follows Jake to their timeloop who is then followed up by a ghastly Hollowgaust. Tim Burton uses peculiar children’s abilities to help each other out from that situation. A bomb drops and their loop forever shuts down.

It is then when Jake and the other peculiars decide to save Miss Peregrine and other Ymbrynes from the clutches of the evil wights. That becomes the sole theme of the movie afterwards.

You can pre-order Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar children here:

Major Drawbacks

The first obvious one was Shelly, the non-peculiar. Her reaction when she finds oddity going on in the real world is not what we expect. It is as if Tim Burton has taken it for granted that everybody is okay with a tinge of eccentricity. I mean, if I was there, I would have first freaked out. The abnormal absent reaction of Shelly will make you think,

“Is she for real?”

Then moving on to Miss Peregrine’s character. To be really candid, Eva Green wasn’t really fit for the role. Okay, she does bring a rare sense of grandeur to her character but was that really enough? Her portrayal was very unconvincing and forgetful. Could it be because of the limited screen-time she had?

There was nothing motherly about her portrayal, if she was supposed to be the caretaker of those children. Somehow I felt a stronger character was supposed to be the call of the hour that no one took. The script demanded someone powerful like Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep or Emma Thompson for that to matter.

Burton’s Bleak Time Loop Representation

With time loop being one of the major driving forces of the tale, Burton’s depiction ends up becoming really bland. Tim Burton’s loops are empty. They come and go at odd hours without packing in much theatrics which ebbs its colossal import. At a time where the ending fight should have mattered the most, the backcloth score of a carnival makes that huge showdown a laughable affair.

Samuel Jackson plays a non-serious villain trying to introduce some humour through his acts. He is alright actually. He makes himself less scary even though he looks terrifying. The Whites of the Wights ( their eyes) were enough to terrorize little kids who had come thinking it was a Disney movie.

still of Samuel Jackson as Baron in Miss Peregrine

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children isn’t really dark. But there are dark elements in the tale nevertheless that are trying real hard to throw in different angles. But the depiction of it all ends up becoming more fun than gloomy. What makes it so is not only just the odd placement of music by Matthew Margeson and Michael Higham but also its less terrorizing banal acts. You can also count both stop motion animation and the CGI of the movie in whilst judging it.

The Final Verdict

To drop the final gavel on this, I would say it is an enjoyable ride nevertheless. However I do wish to see a perceptive TV series made on Ransom Rigg’s book, to capture the beauty of its ravishing story in pensive time frames.

Having trouble understanding the time loops in Miss Peregrine movie? Read our article on: Miss Peregrine Movie Explained

Check out the trailer of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children here:

The Legend of Tarzan Review (2016) | A different but mediocre take

The Legend of Tarzan is an entirely different take on the story of Tarzan. Aptly named as the song that spoke of his feral legends sung by tribals, it is an above average flick that has been beautifully helmed by David Yates. Even though the style of frame depiction is sheer amazeballs, The Legend of Tarzan isn’t exactly all goodies either.

DIRECTION OF THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

I have a mixed feeling about Yates direction. Bits where he chooses different angles to depict a grim situation, cashing in on the intensity makes every frame powerful. He aces such frames with badass music in the backdrop. However there are moments where his frames tumble into the shoddy territory. Like when he starts rotating the camera around a character who is delivering generic dialogues, it is hard to take him seriously.

still of Akut and Tarzan fighting in the legend of tarzan movie

Action scenes in Legend of Tarzan are very unsteady, and it is almost impossible to focus on what’s really happening until it’s all over. Either the characters are too zoomed in or not properly shown. There are plenty of areas where this is evident.

Music is brilliantly chosen and imparts quite a darker comportment to the movie. Screenplay is kind of okay. There are two to three memorable one liners that will definitely wiggle your ears. The other moments, however, your ears will stay parched in need of some intelligent literary lines.

PLOT OF THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

Another area where Tarzan scores profusely is the plot. It comes with a good one, beating the clichés of the jungle tale. The only sad thing is that revisiting the old story is like a constant to and fro motion. It is done at awkward junctures, without choosing a proper way to deliver the complete storyline. Visuals are average. Sometimes you see the CGI dwindle too much taking things towards the animated crossroads.

still of Alexander Skarsgard as Tarzan in the Legend of Tarzan movie

Alexander Skarsgard works magnificently in the shoes of the legendary Tarzan. He creates a more silent and darker aired hero who let his grim nature do the talking for him.

You will also find humour at weird junctures in The Legend of Tarzan, mostly coming from Samuel L. Jackson as George Washington Williams and his shenanigans but most of it is bland.

SPOILERS CLINGING HEREON

Conversations between Leon Rom and Jane Clayton are the worst. There is something wrong with their timing, and the fact that Yates is okay with it, will leave you scratching your head. Also, you cannot overlook the constant disconnect there is to the tale. Just when you begin to think that something is going to happen, the frame changes to a different timeline entirely. It is a constant wrestle between the frames that takes out the tangibility from the movie.

BADASS MOMENTS TO REMEMBER

The Legend of Tarzan is gorgeously blended with moments that resuscitate elements from his past. The first one being the cubs he grew up with. There is a moment where he bows down to grown up versions of lions and lionesses, who recognize him and rub their heads against him in mute affection.

still of alexander skarsgard as tarzan bowing down to lion and lioness in the legend of tarzan movie

Also, the fight between Akut and Tarzan is definitely one of the most theatrical bits of the tale. The mere fact that he fights with someone whom he can’t defeat is ballsy per se. When he tries to save Jane by covering her with his body is both romantic and brave. Another one where he beats a box of soldiers to pulp with his bare hands is one helluva eye-candy.

THE FINAL VERDICT

The Legend of Tarzan has its ups and downs that constantly keep playing with your head. There are flaws galore at the same time beautiful moments to be cherished. I would say go for it, so you don’t regret not watching it, if there are future sequels planned.

Check out the trailer of The Legend of Tarzan here:

The Hateful Eight Review (2015)

The Hateful Eight is a thrilling crime carnage that crawls and feeds on utter suspense.

Quentin has a knack for making the awesome. Not only does he walk in with a dope gore crime drama in his baggage, but he directs the tale magnificently too.

Plot, strewn across three hours of engaging drama, entails six chapters akin to a book that have been well played by a stellar cast. With the front runner Quentin’s ace Samuel L. Jackson under the skin of Major Marquis Warren, and Kurt Russell as John Ruth, a.k.a The Hangman, to do us the honours in the form of bounty hunters, with the latter carrying a brutal plot alongside in cuffs, everyone is headed towards a chaotic world waiting at Minnie’s haberdashery. What is quite beautiful is the way the story unfolds. You almost feel like nothing’s wrong and yet everything is!

The theme is loosely based on blood law, where shooting a perpetrator is simply a form of justice nail and jackhammering it down is a perfect way to end it. But you need to understand if it’s a bandit landscape, killing or shooting without a conscience, without batting an eye, is an acceptable way of living.

Jennifer Jason Leigh is simply outstanding as Daisy Domergue. Tatum has basically a cameo of a role. Walton Goggins is exceptional. Demian Bichir’s short stint as Bob can’t be overlooked either. Both Madsen and Roth have done their bits nicely.

Ennio Morricone’s theme is addictive as he weaves a thrilling score to complement the tale. Sometimes fed in by awesome songs like Apple Blossom, Now you’re All Alone and There Won’t Be Many Coming Home, cut off superbly by Quentin frames, the end product turns out to be sheer delight.

Tarantino’s head is a cruel world. Bullets and gore are his favorite props. But it’s never confined to that. He always has a unique story to tell, which makes for a great movie watching experience. You can almost sway to the Tarantino rhythm as he prolongs frames for emphasis. But sometimes you do wish some editing to take over and snip off some unwanted bits quickly and be over with. What the movie misses on is gut-wrenching tension that used to be the crux of Quentin’s earlier works.

Another downside of The Hateful Eight is at times you feel everything enacted. There is a fluency missing in the flick that fails to connect every act. With a screenplay that appears being ‘read’ and crispy lines that fail to mingle with others, for a touch of the innate, it seems more of a theatrical put-on act. It is only by the time you reach Chapter Four that you begin enjoying the flick truly, for it is then when sham paves way for clarity and things become more dramatic.

However, leave out the above minute details and The Hateful Eight is still a gorgeous criminal entertainer that speaks only of brilliance. Go watch! Tarantinites shouldn’t miss it for the world!

Kingsman: The Secret Service Review (2014)

Kingsman is exhilarating!

What does a spy movie need? Eye-popping gore, ridiculous concepts, shreds of humour and some ballsy action sequences. Add a suit to it, and you have got yourself some classic JB stuff. But it ain’t James Bond. Kinda more like Jack Bauer! 😉

Matthew Vaughn hardly disappoints. He is a man of KickAss taste (see what I did there?)  He literally survives on theatrics. Take any of Vaughn’s work and you know he has this unique way of film-making that sways around with the actors, occasionally jumps at them for emphasis, and stays till the animation hangs around. Also, if Vaughn gets serious behind the camera, you just know how his work becomes grim all of a sudden. First Class reference intended! Fortunately we see everything in this movie.

You have a concept, even though how clichéd it might sound, that breathes on Vaughn’s pizzazz, which is seriously taken up with Firth’s splendor and well supported by Taron Egerton’s audacity. To fill in the voids you have Mark Strong to the rescue, whose facial expressions are enough to tell shit’s getting serious. Samuel steps up to fill in the boots of villainy with a lisp. He isn’t dangerous exactly but yes he wears a brainiac-head with an idea so hideous that takes care of the world’s population per se.

There are some ridiculous and uncanny bits in the movie but they are all passable because of this explosive entertainment package that we are shot in the head with. Also, primarily because it is a comic adaptation so I would suggest just go with it. Sit back and enjoy the theatrics. Get on a joy ride that would take you to the rails of awesomeness with bursting heads, popping eyes, plucked hands, flying prosthetics, split bodies and a cute little pug. Whoa! Quite a descent!

The finest part of the flick: Watch out for that church massacre! Amen to that! 😉