Sunday, August 29, 2021

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) Trailer - Reaction/Review

spider man no way home poster wallpaper screensaver image picture

This is the third film in the series, following Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far from Home. Joining our friendly neighborhood superhero is Dr Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who uses his powers to separate Peter Parker from Spidey. Peter is having issues from the secret identity disclosure (courtesy of Mysterio) in the previous movie and Sorcerer Supreme tries to help his fellow Avenger, against Wong's advice.

Seems Wong is right. The third movie in the MCU's Spider-Man franchise promises to be a true crossover - we see Doctor “Doc Ock” Octopus (Alfred Molina) and Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) return to harass Peter. Electro/Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) also is listed in the IMDB credits.

The only question that remains is: Will Andrew Garfield have a cameo as well. I am sure/hoping that Tobey Maguire will be back.

Check out the trailer:

The trailer was ok. I found it to be mildly interesting. The only parts that piqued my interest was Willem Dafoe's return as Green Goblin. I am more excited for his return than for Doc Ock, even though we only heard Dafoe's voice. Dafoe did a great job as Aquaman's mentor and I cannot wait to see him menace Spidey once again. 
For the rest of the cast, the regulars are ok. Tobey Maguire's incarnation and his fellow cast continue to be my favorites and while I enjoy the ongoing MCU series, the tone is a bit off for my taste. Nevertheless, Cumberbatch is having fun and having JK Simmons and Dafoe makes the movie a must watch.
Fun Fact: Sam Raimi, who directed the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy, is directing the Doctor Strange sequel: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

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Image Sources: Pascal Pictures, Marvel Studios, Columbia Pictures

Saturday, August 14, 2021

RIP Una Stubbs [1 May 1937 - 12 August 2021]

una stubbs benedict cumberbatch mrs hudson bbc sherlock tribute obituary

Una Stubbs, who played Mrs Hudson in BBC Sherlock passed away on 12th August.
She was the heart and soul of the series (sorry Martin Freeman) and enjoyed excellent chemistry with Benedict Cumberbatch in particular. Her version of Mrs Hudson is cheeky and caring - consistent with the overall tone of the show.
Check out this tribute:

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Image Sources: BBC Wales, Hartswood Films, Masterpiece Theatre

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Sunday, July 4, 2021

Snake Eyes (2021) Trailer - Reaction/Review

snake eyes 2021 movie poster wallpaper screensaver image picture

Snake Eyes is one of the most popular G.I. Joe characters. The black clad ninja is one of the most recognizable and it was a matter of time before he got his own standalone movie.
This is the third film in the series, following G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) and G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013). The ensemble cast includes Henry Golding as the black clad ninja, Andrew Koji as the titular character's blood brother Storm Shadow, Úrsula Corberó as Baroness, Samara Weaving as Scarlett, Iko Uwais as Hard Master and Peter Mensah as Blind Master.
Check out the trailer:

Snake Eyes is recruited by Storm Shadow to join the Arashikage, a centuries old Japanese clan of ninjas. The clan has been protecting the world from threats and Cobra (a terrorist organization) is the latest. Snake Eyes has to pass the requisite tests to become an accepted member of the clan and join the fight.

I am not familiar with G.I. Joe lore and am not sure how much this story line is faithful to the character's mythology. As a general fan of movies, this one piqued my interest. The casting choices looks solid for the main characters. Henry Golding and Andrew Koji seem to be having fun in their roles. Úrsula Corberó is well cast as Baroness.
I am looking forward to watching Samara Weaving and Iko Uwais as Scarlett and Hard Master respectively. I liked Samara's performance in Ready or Not and The Raid: Redemption is one of my favorite action movies. The action sequences in the latter were amazing and the finale fight between Iko's character and his brother vs Mad Dog is a classic.

Speaking of action sequences, this movie too promises lot of fun. Hopefully, the movie will live up to the high expectations set up by this trailer and not go the route of Mortal Kombat.
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Image Sources: Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Skydance Media, Hasbro, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Entertainment One

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Celebrating World Environment Day 2021

 world environment day 5 june 2021

Dear Readers,

Close on the heels of Earth Day, today marks yet another effort to recognize the peril that the world is in. Every year, June 05 is recognized as World Environment Day.

Michael Jackson's Earth Song is his heartfelt tribute to our planet and environment:

MJ's song accurately captures the damage that human activities have been causing the environment. While we cannot stop our destructive activities overnight, we can at least realize the need for change in our outlook and take a proactive approach to saving our planet.

Let us stop paying lip service and start taking small steps to protect our planet. Every individual has the power to make a difference. It is up to each one of us to choose to act responsibly.

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Friday, May 28, 2021

Dexter Season 9 (2021) Trailer - Reaction/Review

michael hall dexter season 9 2021 showtime poster wallpaper screensaver image picture

Every one's favorite vigilante (outside of DC comics) returns in the ninth season on Showtime channel.
Dexter is one of my all time favorite TV shows. Michael C. Hall was born to play the role of Dexter Morgan, the bloodstain specialist who moonlights as serial killer with a twist: he only targets killers/murderers and human beings of similar ilk.
Dexter and his sister, Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) worked for the Miami Metro Police Department. Debra becomes aware of her brother's alter ego at the end of the sixth season.
Despite having a strong ensemble cast (led by the lead actor) and superb seasons initially, the show slowly started going downhill after the fourth season. The sixth and eighth season were among the weakest (in my opinion).
Now, after a lot of online speculation and fervent wishing by fans, we finally have the trailer for the next season.
Check out the official trailer from Showtime:

Dexter has assumed the alias of Jim Lindsay, a sales associate with Fred's Fish and Game store. This is a tribute to Jeff Lindsay, the author of the Dexter Morgan series of books.
We can see that though Jim/Dexter is seemingly leading a normal life, he is tempted by the Dark Passenger, who is clearly active and itching to get back into action. The small town settings did remind me a bit of Fargo. 
One of the strong points of the series has been the excellent casting of actors to play the series antagonists. As good as most of them were (except Colin Hanks), I especially enjoyed the performances by Christian Camargo (The Ice Truck Killer/Brian Moser), Jimmy Smits (Miguel Luis Prado), Jonny Lee Miller (Jordan Chase) and Ray Stevenson (Isaak Sirko). I actually liked Jonny Lee here better than as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary.
Continuing in the same vein, Clancy Brown has been cast as the main antagonist: Kurt Caldwell, the unofficial mayor of small town Iron Lake. Clancy has had a long career playing villains and would be a favorite among both DC and Marvel comic book fans, after voicing Lex Luthor in the DC Animated Universe and Surtur in Thor: Ragnarok.

I personally look forward to seeing the return of Dexter Morgan and his inevitable cat-and-mouse game with Kurt. Clancy has the physical presence and the gravitas to become a memorable entry to the illustrious rogues' gallery.
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Image Sources: Showtime Networks, John Goldwyn Productions, The Colleton Company, Clyde Phillips Productions, Devilina Productions

Monday, May 24, 2021

Friends: The Reunion (2021) Trailer - Reaction/Review

friends the reunion poster wallpaper image screensaver

Friends is undoubtedly one of the most popular TV shows of all time. The show ran from 1994 to 2004 and all the six lead actors earned 1 Million USD per episode as the series attained a worldwide following.

After almost two decades since it's last run, an actors' reunion is in the offing.

Check out the trailer:

I personally have seen some of the episodes and liked them. I was never a die-hard fan. Still, the trailer struck a chord with me.

I can only imagine how hardcore fans would react. Right from the beginning, when the theme music starts playing, the trailer hits the right spot and makes us nostalgic.

The actors clearly had a great time making the series and have a great chemistry. All this is evident from the trailer. Most interesting part is that Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing) has only one line and that is certain to bring a tear to any fan of the show.

The Reunion is set to be telecast on HBO Max on May 27. I am sure the hourly countdown would have already begun for many.

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Image Sources: Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, HBO Max, Warner Bros. Television

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021) Trailer - Reaction/Review

 venom 2 carnage movie poster wallpaper

We have the first official trailer for the sequel to the worldwide blockbuster: Venom.

Eddie Brock/Venom (Tom Hardy) have clearly settled into their life together, with the alien symbiote now preparing breakfast for his human host. He still frequents the local store owned by Mrs Chen (Peggy Lu).
But trouble is brewing in the form of Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) and Shriek (Naomie Harris). Fans of Marvel Comics/Spiderman will immediately recognize Cletus as the alter ego of the homicidal Carnage.
Michelle Williams returns as Anne Weying, Eddie's flame and Stephen Graham joins the cast as Detective Mulligan.

Check out the trailer:

Tom Hardy slips back effortlessly as the unwitting host of the murderous symbiote. He continues to show a great sense of humor as Eddie. Woody has been cast in yet another role of a unhinged individual that he has played so well in other movies (2012, War for the Planet of the Apes). I look forward to seeing the cast-against-type Naomie Harris play the antagonist.

With two villains combining their powers and Carnage being stronger than Venom, could this mean a certain more famous webslinger will have a cameo appearance?
The movie is being marketed as a comedic superhero flick, very much in Deadpool's alley. The other interesting aspect is that the movie has been directed by Andy Serkis. Andy has given some of the best motion capture performances (Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong, Planet of the Apes trilogy).
Andy has already directed three movies and this is his highest profile movie yet. His previous movie (Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle) was overshadowed by Disney's version, that was directed by Jon Favreau. Let us see if he steals all the limelight with his latest attempt.
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Image Sources: Marvel Entertainment, Pascal Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE)

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Mortal Kombat (2021) - Recap and Review

 mortal kombat movie poster wallpaper screensaver

After two not-so-successful attempts, the third live-action movie based on the popular fighting themed video game, is here. Is third time the charm? 

There will be spoilers in the review and readers who are yet to watch the movie are recommended to skip the review.

As the movie begins, Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) is living a peaceful life with his family. Tragedy strikes when a rival clan member Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) murders his wife and son. Hanzo is also killed but promises that he will return to avenge his family. Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) arrives shortly thereafter and rescues the sole survivor of the attack: Hanzo's infant daughter.
mortal kombat cole young mma fighter 2021
Cut to the present. Shang Tsung (Chin Han) is en evil sorcerer from Outworld and wants to ensure that his realm wins in the Mortal Kombat tournament. To this end, he dispatches Bi-Han (who calls himself Sub-Zero now) to kill the champions of Earth (or Earthrealm as per Mortal Kombat's mythology).

On the top of Sub-Zero's hit list is Cole Young (Lewis Tan), a down-on-his-luck MMA fighter. Cole's wife, Allison (Laura Brent) and daughter, Emily (Matilda Kimber) still believe in him and provide strong moral support.

Jax (Mehcad Brooks) rescues Cole and his family from Sub-Zero and loses his hands in the process. Cole has been directed by Jax to reach out to Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee). Sonya serves dual purposes in the movie: she is the requisite exposition machine and the eye candy for the target audience. >

Sonya fills in Cole (and by extension the audience) on the Mortal Kombat lore and how he is also a Champion (his “birthmark” is the proof). She also has a hostile hostage: Kano (Josh Lawson), the motormouth who is clearly a fan of Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool. He provides most of the movie's humor and packs in a ton of cultural references.

Once news about Sub-Zero's failure to kill Cole reaches Shang Tsung, he sends Reptile to finish the task. Despite having the power to be invisible and the fact that his saliva can melt even metals, Reptile is defeated by the combined efforts of Sonya and Kano.

Sonya convinces Kano to join him on the quest to beat Outworld's champions. They are soon joined by Liu Kang (Ludi Lin), who takes them to Lord Raiden.

liu kang kung lao shaolin brothers temple mortal kombat wallpaper screensaver

From here on, the movie goes on an autopilot mode as the Earth's would-be champions are trained by Liu Kang and fellow Shaolin monk Kung Lao (Max Huang) in the Shaolin temple. The purpose is to unleash each person's arcana (or special powers, to put it in layman's language). Kano is the first to experience his hidden potential while Cole struggles to find his. Raiden sends the disheartened Cole back to his family, after revealing that he is a descendant of the deceased Hanzo Hasashi (better known to fans as the legendary undead ninja Scorpion).

Shang Tsung launches an attack on the temple, but Raiden places a protective cover to prevent their entry. One of Shang's henchmen, Kabal bribes Kano into opening the shield and thus begins the climactic fight sequence as Shang proclaims: Finish them”.

The movie is clearly made for die-hard fans of the video game. I have not played the game or watched the previous movies. Still, I could catch a number of nods to the game: a bunch of catchphrases and Fatalities.

sonya blade kano mortal kombat 2021 movie poster wallpaper

For the general public, the movie might turn out to be a mixed bag. I found the movie to be funny in parts (mostly due to Josh Lawson). Acting wise, Jessica McNamee makes the best impression as Sonya Blade. She comes off as humane and likeable. In addition, Max Huang and Joe Taslim seem to be enjoying their roles.

Rest of the cast are either miscast or appear wooden. Chin Han (The Dark Knight) is possibly the least threatening villain I have seen in recent movies. Even digitally created characters have oozed more menace than him. Mehcad Brooks (Supergirl) continues to be as boring in his role as ever.

Lewis Tan is ok as the lead, but Ludi Lin fares far worse as Liu Kang, the supposed champion of the titular tournament and one of the most popular characters in the game. He has the physicality needed for the role, but not the gravitas. Same goes for the actor who plays Lord Raiden. The character is the mentor for Earth's champions (and Liu Kang in particular), but the actor's performance leaves no impact.

The movie also suffers from unintentional humor. In some scenes, Liu Kang is seen lecturing other characters but is physically dwarfed by them. While this is not something unacceptable, the actor's lack of acting talents makes this scene (and a few others) an amusing watch. Similarly, Jax's initial set of weapons look weird. It is understandable that the director wanted the character to develop his arcana. Still it could have done in another way.

brass body dave bautista the man with the iron fists

I also did not understand what was Cole's arcana/special powers. He reminded me of the Brass Body character (played by Dave Bautista) from the movie: The Man with the Iron Fists.

Another weak point in the movie were the way the fight scenes were choreographed. Most of them were not interesting to watch and even the much hyped Scorpion vs Sub-Zero action sequence was average. Speaking of Scorpion, he appears in only two scenes in the entire movie: In the opening scene and in the climax. Hiroyuki Sanada could have shot all of his scenes in a day, if the studio had planned carefully. Scorpion fans would be advised that their favorite MK character has very limited screen presence and better to approach the movie with lessened expectations.

mileena kabal reiko outworld mortal kombat 2021

That leaves us with the bad guys. Serving Shang Tsung (along with Sub-Zero) are Mileena (the one with scary teeth), Kabal (who looks a lot like the Predator and has similar powers), Reiko (the muscle) and Nitara (a vampiress). Only Mileena and Kabal have dialogues and the actors do their best with the limited work.

And the movie ends with Cole setting his sights on Hollywood and one specific actor: Johnny Cage.

Movie lovers may or may not like this movie, but MK fans might lap it up for the previously mentioned references to their beloved game.

Image Sources: New Line Cinema, NetherRealm Studios, Atomic Monster, Broken Road Productions, Warner Bros.

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