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25/06/18

INCREDIBLES 2 (Movie Review)


Superheroes are messy.

Yes, admittedly they may have the best of intentions. But every time they do battle with a bad 'un, collapsing buildings are sure to follow. Superman and Zod destroy half of Metropolis in Man of Steel. The Avengers defeated Ultron in Sokovia, but they don’t exactly leave the city better than they found it. Why, the only folks who unreservedly love superheroes these days are insurance adjusters.

The Parr family knows all about the prejudice against superheroes. Never mind that they conquered the evil Syndrome (as chronicled in the gritty documentary The Incredibles). No matter that they just stopped a new felonious evildoer, Underminer, in his subterranean tracks: “Supers” are still illegal. And, frankly, the politicians wish they would’ve left well enough—and the Underminer—alone. Bob and Helen (once the beloved Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl) along with their supercharged progeny (Violet, Dash and baby Jack-Jack) still aren’t allowed to use their superpowers. It’s all right there in the book: section 27, paragraph 32, line c or thereabouts.

Marketing tycoon Winston Deaver wants to change that.

Winston believes that these days, superheroes need to be more than pure of heart and strong of muscle. They need a good PR campaign, too. For way too long, superheroes have done their hero thing and slipped back into the night without a word, capes a-flapping: No flattering Instagram posts, no clever Twitter bon mots, nothing. All the public sees is the destruction heroes leave in their wake. They don’t see the heroes behind it and what made the destruction necessary. No wonder they’re not so popular these days.

Winston meets with Bob, Helen, and their friend Lucius, aka Frozone, suggesting an all-out media blitz. He wants to reintroduce Elastigirl to the world—and this time, her costume will come with a tiny camera (created by Winston’s sister, Evelyn) to show the world her derring-do. When it sees all the good that Elastigirl does, all those anti-super laws will collapse like an evil lair made of balsa wood. And the Parr family will be allowed to use its powers freely again.

'Course, that plan comes with a dollop of irony: “To fix the law, I gotta break it,” Helen says. And to help her family, she’ll have to leave it for a while—leaving Bob, that big galoot who typically solves problems by punching them, in charge.

That’s right: While Elastigirl swings into action to fight the Screen Slaver (a terrible new villain who, you might’ve guessed, can control people via their screens) Bob’s at home, taking care of the kids—helping Dash with homework, trying to lift Violet’s weighty spirits and somehow, somehow keeping baby Jack-Jack under control. How much trouble could a little baby be? Well, given that Jack-Jack has more outlandish powers than a certain caped resident of Metropolis, quite a bit. One little temper tantrum just might destroy a city block.

Yep, superheroes are messy. Especially if they don’t have full control over their super bodily functions just yet.

18/06/18

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM (Movie Review)


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Review: Visual effects have indeed come a long way since Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park’ in 1993. The CGI-heavy series received a fresh shot in the arm with 2015’s ‘Jurassic World’, bringing new talent, and new dinosaurs into the mix. ‘Fallen Kingdom’ tries a different take by changing things up a bit for the series. A dormant volcano on the abandoned island of Isla Nublar threatens to bury the revived dinosaurs. This catastrophic natural disaster compels Owen & Claire to team up once more as they try to save these magnificent creatures.

Without revealing much else, this premise takes the majority of the action out its usual element, and for the most part, the film is better off for it. Director J. A. Bayona utilises these new rules to infuse some much-needed terror. What’s somewhat lacking, however, is the emotional connection to the story as a whole. Sure, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are both great performers and familiarity with their characters allow a semblance of emotional investment. But it’s too few and far between set-pieces that tend to get tedious after a while, affecting the pacing along the way. It also doesn’t help that the new characters bring little to the story and some old ones, such as Jeff Goldblum’s highly anticipated return as Ian Malcolm, are a significant letdown.

Hidden in the midst of it all is an intriguing debate on whether it’s worth saving a species once extinct, now capable of returning the world to ancient times. A poignant moment where a Brachiosaurus is destroyed, further begs the question of this dilemma. Sadly, this whole angle is barely explored, although one suspects it might become the focal point of the next entry in the series. Keeping that aside, there’s a lot to savour in the devastation of expendable scenery, and extras. ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ excels when it allows the real stars – the CGI dinosaurs – to shine, and roar louder than most of their predecessors.

OCEAN'S EIGHT (Movie Review)


The well-known and well-liked con artist, Danny Ocean, is gone. Or, at least, most people think he's met his end and was laid to rest behind that beautiful slab of granite with his name etched in it. One of his last acts, apparently, was to send his old crime-connected compatriot , Rueben, to deliver a message to his sister Deb.

Don't, Danny essentially says from beyond the grave. Just … don't. Sure, the crime scheme Deb has in mind is solid and clever, but Danny felt it was sure to land Deb back in the slammer.

"He said you should give it up," Rueben tells her.

Debbie Ocean, however, has never been one to give up on an idea she's sunk her teeth into. And even a loved one's parting words don't give her pause. She's convinced that her thieving gambit will work.

She's spent years of her most recent incarceration envisioning every angle. Every detail. And each time her mental machinations ended up in failure, she'd rewind and think them through again. After five years, she'd thought of every conceivable loophole, fumble and slip-up; and she's solved them all. Her plan is perfect. She'll even be running a con within a con, but nobody else in her crew will need to know that.

Debbie's BFF, Lou, doesn't believe the plan could possibly be as flawless as Debbie thinks it is. Lou's a gifted grifter herself, and she's certain a jewel theft of the magnitude Deb's thinking of will involve 20 or more people and hundreds of thousands of dollars in seed money. But Deb Ocean only smiles. "I need seven people and $20,000," she declares. Her plan is measured, it's focused. In 12 weeks, she assures Lou, they'll all be banking a cool $16 million each.

Of course, Deb stepped out through the prison gates yesterday with only $45 in her pocket. But give her a day or two, and everything she needs will fall into place.

Danny's not the only Ocean who knows how to ebb and flow.

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