Thor: Ragnarok (2017): More Fun but also Messy

Directed by: Taika Waititi | Produced by: Kevin Feige | Screenplay by: Eric Pearson | Story by: Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Eric Pearson | Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo, Karl Urban, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins | Music by: Mark Mothersbaugh | Cinematography: Javier Aguirresarobe | Edited by: Joel Negron, Zene Baker | Production Company: Marvel Studios | Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios, Motion Pictures | Official Website

8.6/10

Marvel has begun their cinematic universe since the release of Iron Man (2008) and keeps on collecting our money by their decent CGI and star-studded superhero themes. The same formula has been repeating on their superhero themes, but their gigantic plan of making their universe expanded until more than a decade is ambitious, and risky because it can make their audience boring with the same formula. However, since Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) released and stole our heart with their fun and stellar mix of soundtracks, it seemed that Marvel finds out a new way to set their feature movies free from boredom.

Then comes Thor: Ragnarok, which according to many Marvel fans, would end everything and kill everyone. Well, this doesn’t make sense since Marvel still has to release Avengers: Infinity War on 2018 and 2019 and it’s hard to imagine what those two movies would look like without our charming and bodybuilder-look-alike Lord of Thunder, Thor. Thor has a very impeccable charm during his previous solo movie Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013) and being one of the most influential member of The Avengers. Since it’s almost impossible to kill Thor now, then I think that this Ragnarok would mean another thing, and keep my fingers crossed that it would be a nice thing.

On his first appearance on this movie, our beloved Lord of Thunder (still played by Chris Hemsworth) is detained, chained and hanged in a big deserted hell, by a big monster wearing a big crown and adopting a big dragon as pet. That big monster, called Surtur, then talks about the Ragnarok he would cause to Asgard, Thor’s homeland. Thor then fights Surtur, after mocks his big crown as big eyebrows, and brings his crown to Asgard. On Asgard, he encounters his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), who turns out to be camouflaged by his brother God of Mischief Loki (Tom Hiddleston). It seems that Marvel wants to make Thor and Loki bitter sibling rivalry looks like Liam and Noel Gallagher on Norse Mythology.

On their way to find Odin, they meet *ehem spoiler* Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who reveals that Odin is in Norway. Upon their encounter with Odin, Odin dies, and his death released his first born, Hela (Cate Blanchett) from captive. Hela, the Goddess of Death whose make up looks like smokey eyes that brought to sleep and her majestic antler headpiece that would absolutely steal everyone’s attention if you wear it on Halloween, breaks Mjolnir to pieces easily. She then sends Thor and Loki to deserted planet of Sakaar, where Thor is made a gladiator where he should fights the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum)’s champion, Hulk aka Bruce Banner in failed anger management (Mark Ruffalo). On Sakaar too, Thor meets the drunken Scrapper 142 (Tessa Thompson), who is actually the only Valkyrie left alive.

Meanwhile, Hela seems to be a busy goddess explaining her victorious days fighting alongside Odin to her new minion Skurge (Karl Urban). After her mesmerizing battle against Asgard’s troops, somehow steal my heart away and for one moment reminds us on how terrifying she is, she still needs the Sword of Bifrost to open the gate for her conquest on other realms. The Sword of Bifrost, by the way, has been stolen by Heimdall (Idris Elba), who is now evacuating every Asgardian to hidden fortress behind the mountain.

Okay. So let’s catch it all up. This is another story of family conflict sets in Norse Mythology on who should ascend the throne after Odin’s death. And just like other mythologies, there is one god stronger than other god and in this case, Hela looks like she is absolutely stronger than any of Thor or Loki. Cate Blanchett again, always looks charming as hell, and even her standing doing nothing is terrifying as well. However, this movie has a lot of things and too many characters to be covered up so she doesn’t have enough screentime to be one of the most charming yet terrifying Marvel villain. Loki might be charming, but he looks like a little child compared to Hela.

In the end, the Ragnarok is not like we already imagined before. No one gets killed, besides Odin, and nothing makes me happier than listening to Led Zeppelin in the middle of Marvel movie.

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Happy Death Day (2017): When Scream Meets Groundhog Day, but Lamer

Directed by: Christopher B. Landon | Produced by: Jason Blum | Written by: Scott Lobdell | Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine | Music by: Bear McCreary | Cinematography: Toby Oliver | Edited by: Gregory Plotkin | Production Company: Blumhouse Production | Distributed by: Universal Pictures | Official Website

6.4/10

If you remember Groundhog Day (1993) where Bill Murray’s character trapped in time loop so he keeps on repeating that one day, or Edge of Tomorrow (2014) where Tom Cruise also keeps on dying and then wake up on the same day, then the premise of Happy Death Day is similar to those movies. One special thing is, that premise is then be joined by the premise of Scream (1996) where you have a mysterious killer wearing mask. Even if it sounds like a good idea, it turns out not.

Meet our victim Theresa “Tree” Gelbman, a sorority girl who repeating her birthday, the same event on that day, where she ends up being killed by a killer wearing Baby Mask and wake up on Carter (Israel Broussard)’s bed again. She tries to figure out what actually happens and what would end the loop. She tries to be a nice girl, change her bad behavior but it still ends up in another murder. When she finds out a serial killer is now hospitalized and that killer is owning the Baby Mask, she thinks she could end the loop by getting rid of him. However, it doesn’t, and she needs to think of another possibility.

While Groundhog Day is more contemplative and Scream remains one of the most memorable slasher movie ever, Happy Death Day falls into nothing. It makes us as confused as Tree about what was happened in this movie. If it wants to be a horror movie like Scream, it lacks of slashing and jumping moments. If it wants to be another movie that has Time Loop story, it contains too many plot holes. For example, on one scene we see Tree makes a list of suspect and eliminates it one by one. How can that list even possible to still exist while we know Tree is repeating another loop?

Happy Death Day also lacks on strong protagonist that should be existed in every slasher horror. If Scream has Sydney Prescott, Happy Death Day only gives us Tree Gelbman, whom hardly to say charming and sympathetic. Tree Gelbman is arrogant, messy, such typical of mean sorority girl. We can find almost no reason why we should sympathize this girl for being killed several times. For this one reason, we should thank Jessica Rothe for portraying Tree in such a way within those all terrible writings. It’s even barely believed that a producer of this year’s stellar Get Out (2017) create something like this.

The one and only thing Happy Death Day do right. The killer is nearly unpredictable. Not shocking though, but still unpredictable, and that where my 6.4 point goes for this movie.

Geostorm (2017): Just Another “Gerard Butler Saves the World” Movie

Directed by: Dean Devlin | Produced by: David Ellison, Dean Devlin, Dana Goldberg | Written by: Dean Devlin, Paul Guyot | Starring: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Andy Garcia| Cinematography: Robert Schaefer | Edited by: Ron Rosen, Chris Lebenzon, John Refoua | Production Companies: Warner Bros Pictures, Skydance Media, Electric Entertainment | Distributed by: Warner Bros Pictures | Official Website

6.7/10

I always have a heart for disaster movies. For me, a good disaster movie would contain proper drama, decent CGI and tough character. A good disaster movie would always move our heart, sear a new hope and take a lesson from whatever happened to the characters, after we witnessed their toughness through hard times. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel any of those feelings in this movie, and that left me confused throughout the movie.

Geostorm is a movie about Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), an International Climate Space Station senior researcher who had successfully led an international team of 17 nations, and built weather-controlling satellites called Dutch Boy. At the first glance, Dutch Boy seems to be a new hope for the world, knowing that it could control the impact of global warming. As US have to give away The Dutch Boy Program to U.N., some of Dutch Boy satellites start to make errors that cause catastrophic damages to some areas.

Lawson is then called by Senate and then they fired him as the leader of Dutch Boy space program and then replaced him by his own estranged brother Max (Jim Sturgess). The error of Dutch Boy continues worldwide and Max has no other option but to ask Jake for help. Jake then returns to the International Climate Space Station where they produce and control Dutch Boy satellites. He and Max have to solve the conspiracy behind errors of the satellites, before it causes Geostorm, a storm that would end the world.

Although we have seen so many different scenarios on how this world would end, an idea of different weather disasters all over the world happens in one time and finally end the world is actually a fresh one. However, I cannot understand how they end up casting Gerard Butler and Jim Sturgess as brothers who successfully postpone the apocalypse. I like them both, as handsome actors, but having them together as estranged brothers is like estrange your movie from being a good one. Butler is once again showing his heroic side and then this movie turns from a disaster movie into a movie where you watch Gerard Butler once again save the world, yeay. Jim Sturgess with his not-too-cute-anymore mini mullet, on the other side, acts awkward compared to Butler, even compared to Abbie Cornish who plays his love interest Sarah.

This movie also lacks of intention and gives confusion, whether it would be a disaster movie or a typical action movie. The story is weak since they depend so much on their CGI. The bond between Butler’s Jake and his daughter Hannah (plays by Annabelle: Creation (2017)’s Talitha Bateman) is almost nothing and so hard to believe. There are also no emotional bending between Jake and Max, though they are brothers who had not spoken to each other for years, but the sudden click between them at the end of this movie feels ridiculously forced. The lack of emotional touches also makes this movie feels soulless, feels more like an action movie with heavy CGI.

So if you are so into disaster movie fan and also an action movie lover like me, this movie might be a nice choice for you. However, if you were a more logical person who needs more background on movies, please stay away from this movie.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017): Confusing Story within Beautiful Dystopian

Directed by: Denis Villenueve | Produced by: Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Bud Yorkin, Cynthia Yorkin | Screenplay by: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green | Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks | Music by: Hans Zimmer, Benjamin Wallfisch | Cinematography: Roger Deakins | Edited by: Joe Walker | Production Companies: Alcon Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, Scott Free Pictures, Torridon Films, 16:14 Entertainment, Thunderbird Entertainment | Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures | Official Website

8.2/10

When the world is in need of brainy movie nowadays, the release of Blade Runner 2049 is answering more than just that. Blade Runner 2049 is the 35-years-later sequel to the original Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) with the addition of modern taste and new face. Blade Runner 2049 is trying to answer the final case in their predecessor that might have made the former Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) disappears.

The new LAPD Blade Runner, Officer KD-3.7 (Ryan Gosling), is a bio-engineered human (they called it Replicants) works to hunt down and retire the older rouge model. One day, he needs to retire worm farmer Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista) and found a mysterious box under a dead tree on Morton’s yard. The mysterious box contains bones with serial numbers, means the remains were from a female replicant. However, the fractures on hip bones indicates that the female replicant has ever been on a forced Cesarean section, which means that replicants can breed too like real humans. This fact, they said, should be a great new for the future.

LAPD boss, Joshi (Robin Wright), command K to find out the whereabouts of the child. K starts with investigate the identity of the mother, which led him into Wallace Corp., the new version of Tyrell Corp., led by Elon Musk-inspired Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) and his right hand Luv (Sylvia Hoeks). From K’s investigation, Wallace knows that if LAPD found the child, it will change the future of the world. They used K to lead them to the former Blade Runner Rick Deckard, no matter the memory is now messing with K’s mind.

The most adorable pieces of Blade Runner 2049 is the architecture of 2049 Los Angeles and San Diego. The cinematography is brilliantly captures the world where humans and bio-engineered humans or the replicants live side by side. The humanized touch of the replicant is also another beautiful side of this story. This movie clearly said that replicants and even artificial intelligence like K’s digital love interest Joi (Ana de Armas, at her best), can have feelings for each other.

However, the story is a bit confusing for me and the pace runs too slow in the two-third of the movie before its anticlimactic ending. Ryan Gosling is acting superb as almost emotionless K, though his performance is slightly ordinary compared to Ana de Armas or of course, Harrison Ford. Ana de Armas has been acted on several movies including Knock Knock (2015) against Keanu Reeves, but her role as Joi clearly will make up her way to the top. Harrison Ford, on the other side, is not losing any of his charm (or his joke, including when K asks whether his dog is real or artificial and he answers “I don’t know. Ask him.”) and everyone can see his vulnerability when it comes to his wife and his child.

In conclusion, Blade Runner 2049 is a beautiful movie with a nice story if you were patient enough to see every details of the story. However, this movie still leaves us with a big plot hole: is Rick Deckard a replicant or not?