Deadpool

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In this hilarious, non-formulaic superhero action comedy, former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopting the alter ego Deadpool.

Deadpool is nothing you would expect out of its recycled genre. Instead of being a cliche, dull, limited superhero movie like others are criticized for, Deadpool chooses to have tons of clever humor, wild and over-the-top violence, and other R-rated content to make it the Deadpool movie fans have been wishing for all along. Ryan Reynolds redeems his career as the hilarious, wisecracking hero who constantly breaks the fourth wall and makes us crack up. He always entertains and feels like the best part of the movie. Morena Bacarrin is also great in her role as Wade/Deadpool’s girlfriend Vanessa, and although her character was great, she eventually became a “damsel in distress” by the end, and that’s the one part this movie decided to keep from the superhero formula. However, I was still very convinced by Wade and Vanessa’s love story, as it does not feel like another dull romantic relationship, and it was mostly done well, even though Vanessa’s role became very cliched by the end.

The directing from first-time director Tim Miller is fantastic, as this movie always feels so well-realized and different in such a great way. This movie is self-aware about the path it takes, averting the  classic superhero formula that is still recycled today. The fourth wall breaks are always so brilliant, as Deadpool loves to blurt out everything his audiences are thinking. The script is probably the best thing about this movie outside of the cast. This movie’s script made a superhero movie so enjoyable in the most unimaginable way. The script keeps throwing unpredictable humor at you, most that will definitely make you laugh out loud. The opening credits are absolutely hilarious, and from there, the fun doesn’t stop. There is never a dull moment in this movie. In the end, I felt like the movie could have used a little more length, but mainly because I was having so much fun. Also, stay for a hilarious end-credits scene that brilliantly teases the recently greenlit sequel.

Deadpool is an achievement for mainstream superhero blockbusters, with a dirty, raunchy sense of humor, as well as awesome action sequences and a fantastic cast and crew. Deadpool redeems Ryan Reynolds as an actor, and feels so different than other films of its genre that I bet it will soon be considered a superhero classic. If there’s one movie out there right now you should see, it’s Deadpool, so see it to have the best time ever with a superhero movie!

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Thirty years ago, the Empire was defeated and now a new threat, The First Order, has risen from the ashes of the Empire. A scavenger named Rey has come into contact with a droid that contains a map to the legendary Luke Skywalker, who has vanished. Rey and a rogue stormtrooper named Finn find themselves in a monumental conflict between good and evil, that will unite them with both old and new faces from the legendary saga.

With not only high anticipation and high results at the box office, but also having everything we expected from this film to revive the saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is able to entertain, bring nostalgia to viewers, and deliver as the most rewarding blockbuster of the year. The movie reintroduces us into the galaxy far, far away with a perfect balance of the old and new generation. J.J. Abrams felt like the obvious choice to direct a modern Star Wars film from the beginning, and he rocked this movie just like I expected he would do.  He is very dedicated,  stylish, and loves to perfect his style to make the setting epic and remind us of the past films. I feel like Abrams is the only director in our decade that can handle Star Trek the right way, and right now I feel the same with Star Wars, although we never know how another director taking on the sequels could go.

The cast and characters in this movie are fantastic. Daisy Ridley killed it as our new female lead, and I love that this movie dares to do something big with a strong female character. John Boyega and Oscar Isaac also rock the new cast as amazingly likable characters. Adam Driver is successful with playing a complex, threatening villain that feels very real and interesting. The balance between old and new characters was great, as we also get great performances from returning stars Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, who play the classic heroes Han and Leia. I immediately fell in love with this new world and characters, as well as this huge, fascinating setting that Abrams did such a great job with.

This new Star Wars movie feels like such a treat mainly because of how much it is able to remind fans of the past as well as do such a great job with the new generation of characters. The thing that has always made Star Wars so unique is that no matter who you are or what your taste in film is, Star Wars is the movie for you. The prequels released last decade, which I strongly dislike, lack the sense of fun, humor, and great setting that this movie was able to keep so well. I had such a great time with this movie, from the moment the Star Wars logo appeared on screen to when the credits rolled, after over 2 hours of amazing cinematic entertainment. I already cannot wait to see Episode VIII, as this movie left me with so much to look forward to. So as long as you love Star Wars, which you most likely do, and enter this movie with an open mind, The Force Awakens is absolutely the movie for you.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

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In the final installment of the Hunger Games saga, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) teams up with her closest allies for the ultimate mission. Together, they leave District 13 to liberate the citizens of war-torn Panem and assassinate President Snow, who’s obsessed with destroying Katniss. What lies ahead are mortal traps, dangerous enemies and moral choices that will ultimately determine the future of millions.

As a conclusion to a strong and beloved series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is quite satisfactory. It is able to deliver great action sequences and a better premise than its predecessor.

The first 30 minutes of the film are as bland as Mockingjay – Part 1 was, but instead of going downhill after that, it brings in very exciting action scenes and some convincing emotion that redeems the film and brings in a strong level of suspense. Jennifer Lawrence once again brings her character to life fantastically, and gives the role her best. Josh Hutcherson does a decent job, as he doesn’t amaze anymore as Peeta, and his character often feels all over the place, as he constantly struggles to recover from the events of the previous film. Donald Sutherland is a great villain, being able to portray the hate but also soft side in President Snow. Woody Harrelson and Philip Seymour Hoffman are given enough time to shine in their roles, the latter of which’s last role was in this film,  but many key characters, a few of which lacked screen time in the previous film, are not given too much development in this film, including Effie, Johanna, Annie, Caesar, and even Prim. I needed more development from these characters for their actions to be more effective and for them not to feel neglected. Gale, portrayed by Liam Hemsworth, once again feels too forced into the film, with lots of unnecessary development on his character, and he becomes more uninteresting throughout the film. This time should have been used to develop characters I wished more from.

Like I said before, after the first half hour, which is often rushed and feels too much like the previous film, with lots of unnecessary drama and an imperfect plot buildup, the film warms up a tad, bringing some more excitement, but still focuses on uneven development, like the first Mockingjay film. The cinematography is polished up but not quite perfected, and the visuals were alright. Throughout the film, the war against the Capitol is set up like a Hunger Games, and this felt very effective to both audiences of the film and the characters. The movie often rewards us with great sequences, and those that fans expect the most from often pay off. The way the movie concluded the saga lacked a lot. It was a tad rushed, and didn’t offer everything we still wanted from the saga’s setting and large story. I felt that the end should have tied some loose ends with a few of the characters.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is a nice treat for fans that makes up for the disappointment of Mockingjay – Part 1, although not as strong as Catching Fire. With some exciting scenes but lots of problems with characters, it’s ultimately worth checking out on the big screen, only if you’re a fan.

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Everest

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Everest is the exhilarating true story of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, in which a climbing expedition on Mt. Everest, led by Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal), was devastated by a severe storm.

After Gravity showed you the suffering of being in space, Everest demonstrates the horrors of being at the highest place in the world, at a cruising altitude of 747, in dazzling IMAX 3D. Everest is a visual spectacle, using barely any CGI or effects, and filmed beautifully, showing you the amazing but terrifying landscape of Mount Everest. Every shot is incredible and beautiful look at. I felt sucked into the movie’s setting when I saw it in IMAX 3D. The movie’s score is also very well done.

Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, and John Hawkes all did an incredible job acting as terrified climbers who have something to come back home for. Jake Gyllenhaal is also very good in his role, but he’s only likable and decently written, not amazing. Emily Watson and Keira Knightley are also good, but Robin Wright is miscast and overacted. Sam Worthington has a decent small role, and Michael Kelly is solid, too.

Everest may seem like it’s only some amazing views, but that’s not it. Once you’re an hour through the film, a storm approaches, threatening the climbers that we have related with. At this point, all the terror and amazement increases as the climbers struggle to survive. There is so much suspense that my breath was taken away from me, and I was on the very edge of my seat. It is very hard to watch what these climbers went through, but the theater experience ultimately leaves you in awe.

Everest is ultimately able to convey the beauty and horrors of the titular mountain in such a touching, amazing, and terrifying way. It is realistic, intense, wonderfully shot and directed, well-acted, and an unforgettable way too kick off the Oscar season.

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United 93

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In recognition of the 9/11 attacks 14 years ago, I decided to watch Paul Greengrass’ 2006 drama United 93 for the first time yesterday. Because of the occasion, I will review it, too.

United 93 depicts what happened on United Airlines Flight 93, hijacked on September 11, 2001, but the only one out of the four planes hijacked that day to not reach its target. It is an incredibly realistic and moving dramatization of the events the film depicts. Not much happens within the first 45 minutes, but after that, it becomes very intense. There isn’t a specified protagonist, and no known actors, but the performances feel amazingly realistic, without doubt. Once the hijacking begins, everything become so intense, real, and in the end, heartbreaking. Thanks to director Paul Greengrass, I felt like I was watching an actual event. He directs the film masterfully, and like he does with Captain Phillips, he is able to convey the story on flight 93 and the narrative of the attacks. It ends very dramatically, and takes your breath away at the last moment of the film.

Overall, United 93 is an excellent, captivating movie that feels realistic and emotional, and that I would recommend for ages 15 and up.

This review is dedicated to all the passengers who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

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Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

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When the IMF is targeted by the Syndicate – a rogue organization committed to destroying the IMF, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) reassembles his team (and is joined by a female assassin) to protect their organization, and their world as they know it.

When Tom Cruise is in an entertaining action film, what can go wrong? The series continues with tons of action, humor, and great cast members, and the franchise keeps getting better, film by film. Director Christopher McQuarrie, despite doing an awful job with Jack Reacher, brings the action and fun to life wonderfully. The action scenes are incredibly entertaining, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Like I said before, Tom Cruise can never mess up an action movie. He does amazing stunts in all of his films, and is in great shape, despite already being 53. Simon Pegg is always great comic relief, and I loved watching him on screen as much as I did in the previous movies. Jeremy Renner also reprises his role from Ghost Protocol and does a very good, as well as Ving Rhames, another returning cast member. Rebecca Ferguson’s character, however, could have been written better, and could have been incorporated better into the script, including her dialogue, but she does know how to kick ass well. The movie’s villain is also done well, more believable than the one from Ghost Protocol, but still doesn’t beat Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s antagonist from Mission: Impossible 3.

The story and narrative in the film are very good, going straight into the action and bringing you right into the fun. There are a few obvious references to the other films (and the TV series they’re based on). Of course, by the end of the movie, I was blown away (I saw the movie on a huge IMAX screen in London, and the immense viewing and sound added to the film’s awesome experience), and hopeful about the potential it has for future films.

Overall, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is a great and possibly the best installment in its beloved series. It is incredibly entertaining, well-acted, and well-directed. It lived up to all my expectations, and I can’t wait to see what happens next with the series.

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Terminator Genisys

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By the 2020s, a program named Skynet has taken over the world and wiped out billions of humans via nuclear apocalypse. The remaining humans, fighting for survival against Skynet’s forces, are led by John Connor (Jason Clarke). When John sends Sgt. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and safeguard the future, an unexpected turn of events changes the past completely. Now, Reese finds himself in a new timeline, where he is faced with unlikely allies, including “Pops” (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a Terminator programmed to protect Sarah, dangerous enemies, and an unexpected mission: To reset the future by preventing a sinister app named Genisys from going online.

Terminator Genisys ultimately doesn’t do a great job reviving the beloved classic franchise, but I’m not surprised. The storyline isn’t very good. It takes everything we love about the originals and turns it to crap, with bad characters, performances, and a terrible script. Arnold Schwarzenegger still does great as The Terminator. Even at an old age, he is still very charming and entertaining as his iconic character. Even though his performance is great, none of the other cast members managed to impress me. Jai Courtney didn’t do a terrible job in this film, but he was so uninteresting and I disliked the fact that the story is told from his point of view. Like I predicted, he couldn’t capture the heart and badass of Michael Biehn’s Kyle Reese. Emilia Clarke sure does make a good female badass, just like Linda Hamilton, but she doesn’t deliver her lines and her character’s personality to the audience well. Most of the time, she feels like a teenage girl constantly complaining and hard to stand. Jason Clarke doesn’t actually do such an awful job as John Connor, but he isn’t good, either. The twist with his character is pretty clever, but unfortunately, the trailers ruined it by giving it away. J.K. Simmons’ supporting character is useless and barely used at all. But from the entire cast, the worst performance comes from Lee Byung-Hun: The Korean actor casted to play the iconic T-1000 from Terminator 2. In this movie, the T-1000 is completely underused (he only delivers one line, but it’s enough to convince you he was a horrible casting choice), horribly written, and felt very forced into the script.

I was let down by the cast of this film, but that’s not the only disappointing thing it did to the franchise. The story messed up a lot about what I loved about the original 2 films, and I explained a lot of it in the previous paragraph. I didn’t like the new perspective or stars. The action is very entertaining, and the pacing is just right. However, the dialogue is so predictable, and the movie keeps throwing in these messages about time and the future that are so constantly used in film, that they’re more than just cliche. It doesn’t have the tone of the original movies, and is simply a copy-paste of expensive action movies that failed to impress me (G.I. Joe, Jupiter Ascending, etc.) that Hollywood doesn’t know when to stop making. It’s best to leave this franchise alone forever, and just appreciate its original movies, which helped shape films of its time and genre.

Overall, Terminator Genisys is a disappointment for fans, so I wouldn’t recommend it for any of you Terminator die-hard fans like me, but if you aren’t one, you may think differently about the film…

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