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Wish Dragon (2021)

Wish Dragon (2021)


5/10


Starring the voices of

Jimmy Wong

John Cho

Constance Wu

Natasha Liu Bordizzo


Directed by Chris Appelhans


What jumps at you is that this movie is a Disney’s Aladdin rip-off set in China. Now do not expect to find the wonderful relationship which Genie and Aladdin had, their relationship and Aladdin’s selfishness created the reason for that movie’s length. Wish Dragon is like if Aladdin found Genie in the 21st Century. The movie does the simple mistake all these wish magic lamp movies do, waste too much time. I never seem to get that. The moment you have figured out that you get three wishes, what is stopping you from making it all at once and move on with your life. In the case of Aladdin we saw that his selfishness was the reason for the delay wanting to hold on to the last wish in case. In Din’s case there seem to be no reason why he was delaying.

They movie did everything from Aladdin, from the way the man is trying to catch the girl and the whole distraction left right from the Wish Dragon.

In this Chinese setting we do not have a magic lamp, but instead a magic tea pot. This Jackie Chan produced animation made enough changes especially in the animation itself to try and distant itself from Aladdin, but not at all it stuck close to the Aladdin script. The story centers around the same theme a not so wealthy young man, finds a magic wish granting thing which he uses to get him closer to the woman he loves.

Our young man is Din. Din met Li Na when they were in pre-school and they built a beautiful relationship. Li Na and her family moved away and they both grew up apart. But Din never forgot Li Na and always dreams of meeting her again one day. In fact he takes this dream one step further having dream dates with her on the rooftops.

On one of his delivery trips one old man who was unable to pay for his food gave him a teapot as payment. Din took it, mostly because the man was weird-ing him out. While on his dream date he made a wish and a magic dragon appeared telling him he has three wishes. Before Din could figure out things, his life became in danger as we discover that a sinister man sent some goons to go get the magic teapot, and they were able to track its presence to Din.

One thing the movie does is trip on its own ten master rule, which I believe the movie thinks they can swipe away saying. As long as Din has not made a third wish then.. yada yada for me it goofed there.

As said the animation is not as grand as that of Disney, but the voice casting is cool enough and the movie as a whole is watchable. Do not go diving it expecting something great, it is just there.

Infinite (2021)

Infinite (2021)


3/10


Starring

Mark Wahlberg

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Sophie Cookson

 

Directed by Antoine Fuqua

 

Remember how much we all loved The Matrix, now mix that with The Old Guard, that is what this aspired to be, but failed woefully. The movie is not well stringed together, very incoherent and I have to hand it to the special effects team here. It seemed they got the gist that this movie should be exciting more than the director and the screenplay writer. Their hard work is wasted as the movie tries to keep you entertained with stunts, high-octane car chase or weirdass explosions – all these cannot make up for the badly directed and horribly written screenplay.

The movie just seems to fold in on itself, because the more you get to know what was going on the more your dislike on how the whole thing is playing out. It seemed like a good idea this adaptation of D. Eric Maikranz book The Reincarnationist Papers but the delivery well… glad I did not go to see this in the cinema.

Here is what they had to work with, in this world are these set of people called Infinites. These guys have the ability of reincarnation and some like Evan (Mark Wahlberg) can recall things done in the previous lives they lived. These infinites have a group amongst them called nihilist who believe this whole reincarnation thing is a curse. Led by Bathurst (Chiwetel Ejiofor) they want to end life on earth as we know it. Evan has a secret from his past life which can save humanity from those who wish to end it (Bathurst).

Problem is Evan is struggling with remembering who he is and his deep struggle in this present reincarnation has led him to believe he is suffering from a mental disorder. As he knows things he shouldn’t, has skills, he never learned and understands things more than he should.

His path and that of Bathurst crossed when he tried to get drugs from drug dealers. Bathurst seems to know more about Evan than Evan does of himself. Their innocent meeting in a police station where Evan was being held after his dealing with the drug dealers was going south when Evan was saved by unknown people. They later reveal themselves to be infinites and try to help Evan come to the realization of who he is and the secret buried in his memory. While also try to stop Bathurst

The whole line of - you are special, you are more than who you think you are, seem to be lines picked up from every other movie. The movie stole The Matrix seeking “the one” who doesn’t have a clue that he is “the one.”

When it comes to the acting, I know Wahlberg can do better than this, it is just disgraceful to see him put his performance in the hands of the idea that the plot will do the job. His acting is emotionless and he must have forgotten that facial expressions go a long way in conveying an idea.

The Misfits (2021)

The Misfits (2021)

 


2/10

Starring

Pierce Brosnan

Rami Jaber

Hermione Corfield

Jamie Chung

Mike d Angelo

Tim Roth

Nick Cannon



Directed by Renny Harlin



Everyone in this movie had some weird shitty facial expression with acting skills that felt like they were being made to do this film against their own will. The acting in this movie is so poor, you will think neither of these actors have ever acted in any major movie before. With lines that seem to have jumped out of a kiddy early morning cartoon, this poorly written film can best be summarized as a best seen only if your life depended on it.

The Misfits is a comedy heist film, about six characters trying to steal gold bars from some bad guys in the middle east.

One thing that stands out is the main character Richard, you wonder all through the movie his significant, because his portrayal warrants to be shot on sight. His ideas and inputs are so basic I wonder how stupid everyone on his team must really be in this movie world to need him to point it out for them. Here is one very significant point he laid on them, “the problem with gold is, it is heavy...” My thought was of all the people that planned this heist, none of them thought of how to transport this gold and needed Sherlock here to come tell them how heavy gold is.

The whole movie is about this team coming together with the whole idea of doing some good. Each in their own way steal from bad people and do some good with it. Their next victim was a bad reach middle eastern who built a prison and stored in it gold. Get ready now to spend the next thirty-nine minutes getting to know nobody. The movie tries to give us a little depth into four characters in the first eight minutes (Ringo, The Prince, Violet and Wick). Then spends the next thirty minutes trying to get Richard (Pierce Brosnan) character onboard on the whole plan.

These thirty minutes will be one of the most boring bad acting setting i have seen in a while. Then we meet the last member of the crew Hope, Richard's daughter in the last minute of the thirty-nine.

The movie seems to have a bet on itself, like if the viewer has not slept off in this agonizing long intro. Then we will get them in the next agonizing, stupid, outright ridiculous plan to carry out a gold heist. The whole show was over done with explosions and driving, fights and non-fights, escapes and the idea of being trapped.

There is not much I can dive into concerning this plot without giving anything away, but know this see this movie at your own peril.

Cruella (2021)

Cruella (2021)


6/10

Starring

Emma Stone

Emma Thompson

Joel Fry

Paul Walter Hauser

 

Directed by Craig Gillespie

 

I swear, I already judge the casting of Emma Stone (as Cruella) in this live-action spin off before I even saw it. Now that I have seen her in the role, I have to say she is an amazing actor and her portrayal in this movie the way she framed the character was magnificent to see.

The movie is fun and you will enjoy it, especially for the wonderful world build. It is visually dazzling with colorful is screenplay and creativity. But the movie is forgettable and the movie way too long. The story is written in a Dickensian style and it is not so predictable as I expected. Be ready for some fantastic performances from Stone and Emma Thompson, especially when they go at it.

It is obvious that Disney is pushing the limits of their fanbase. Cruella is not a bad try and this crime comedy gives nothing more than an OK feel and leaves you wondering the reason for the making of this movie in the first place. It was so not needed. They also did something meaningless by tying to Cruella's past some characters we know from the main movie this spinoff is based (the animation of One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)). For all the ingenuity plus creativity the director and writers put into this, that for me deducted from their ingenuity points. I think giving Cruella a clean break from everything that is her from the animation would have been a better take.

The plot takes us way back, the movie starts from the birth of Estella/Cruella and we witness that from childhood Cruella has always been different and the white and black hair, is not a style. Now, what I liked about this depth they gave her was she has never been one to follow rule and her lack of keeping to them, led to a tragedy that changed her life. Cruella became homeless and lived on the streets, stealing and conning with the aid of her two friends Jasper and Horace.

Jasper always knew Cruella had a thing for fashion and got her a job working for the Baroness (Emma Thompson) a fashion icon whose character reminds you of Meryl Streep’s Miranda in The Devil Wears Prada (2006). She noticed the potential and took her under her wing, but the tragedy in Cruella’s life is tied to the Baroness. Cruella’s past was jolted back to the front of her present when she saw the Baroness wearing a necklace that belonged to someone she loved. The Baroness complete dismissal of the person hit Cruella hard and she wanted to get revenge plus the necklace back.

This is where the evil side of Cruella took over and we watch her and her partners bond, scheme and do everything they can to bring down the Baroness.

In the end, even though I enjoyed the movie I still did not get for the life of me why they added so many things to make the movie over two hours long. I for one saw the intro of her and her mother a bit too long. They were other parts too that felt way too irrelevant to the main story that could have been cut. Like the many minutes of bonding between the Baroness and Cruella could have been shortened.

Then the movie's major twist, for me, I liked the movie for what it was before the twist.

Rule of Engagement (2000)

Rule of Engagement (2000)

 

5/10

Starring

Tommy Lee Jones

Samuel L. Jackson

Guy Pearce

Bruce Greenwood

Blair Underwood

 

Directed by William Friedkin

 

This movie drags so much, that if you are not in an upright position, you will probably sleep off while watching. The script is very unrealistic and its own setup was not compelling. Then when they get to the courtroom where the main plot is meant to unravel, even there the whole process failed to win me over.

The movie spends half the time setting up a probably unrealistic view of an incident, based on a successful military mission. Pushing the blame on the commander of a team and ventured to sacrifice that man for doing something that happens to be so gruesome that only one man saw the reason for it to be done.

Many other soldiers were on the roof and it made no sense that none saw the bullets from the ground. After the incident, it made no sense that none of the soldiers in whatever record they wrote mentioned seeing on the ground after the shootings any fire weapons. Then the idea that a country will sacrifice one of its own for doing what I saw was the minimal action based on the situation at hand seems so unconvincing, even though it is possible, but this scenario was off.

Then comes the court case, after waiting an eternity to see it happen, the drama was lacking the needed catch and the whole event was just on its head. Then the prosecutor acted like he had a personal agenda against the defendant.

The plot is about Colonel Childers (Samuel L. Jackson) who was sent on a mission to rescue an ambassador. On getting to the site the whole embassy was in turmoil with shootings which led to the death of three marines. Childers noticed that the shootings were coming from the ground as well as from snipers so he ordered his men to shoot the attacking crowd.

Back at home the government decided to push the blame on Childers. Hiding evidence that can exonerate him and getting the ambassador to lie that the protest was peaceful.

Childers called his old war body to come defend him in this case, to save him from being court-martialed.

The courtroom drama is not mainly on Childers and his actions. No, the drama is about Childers and the extent the government will go to blame a man for doing something although gruesome, but last resort to save face politically.

The movie was not successful critically and commercially. Seeing it again now after so many years I can understand why it never stood out for me as a courtroom drama worth recommending to anyone.

The Negotiator (1998)

The Negotiator (1998)


 

7/10


Starring

Samuel L. Jackson

Kevin Spacey

David Morse

 

Directed by F. Gary Gray

 

Awesome movies will forever standout and wade through time to remain relevant. The Negotiator bases itself on the ability to deliver a simple story on strong dialogues and outstanding performances. Not setting you on characters, but allowing you to be swallowed by the captivating performances of the two leads, as they try to navigate the conspiracy before them

I like the way the movie just leaves everything in the air about who to trust and who not to, when the cloud starts to clear the movie still leaves you in the dark on who and who can be trusted. Even in the dramatic ending of the film, our lead Danny (Samuel L. Jackson) finally gets to know the truth and still the movie makes you doubt if you have finally got everything that is going on.

The plot introduces us to Danny a hostage negotiator and we later find out one of the board members of the disability fund for his department. His friend Roenick has been investigating the fund, discovering that money has been going missing. He tells Danny about it, telling him he was able to get the information from an informant. Things took a turn when Roenick was murdered when he was supposed to be meeting with Danny. Danny was the chief suspect (as first one on the scene) and things got worse when they discover an offshore bank account in his name with some suspicious balance. He was now under the hammer for murder and embezzling. Danny was suspended even though he claimed innocence. He decided to confront the lead Internal Affairs investigator, Neibaum and it was there Danny when faced with a struggle decided to do something drastic. He took Niebaum hostage along with one of the officers from his precinct and two other people. He then requested to only deal with another hostage negotiator a stranger to him from another precinct, Sabian (Kevin Spacey).

We are now watching as things get more twisted and Danny seems to be way above his head as many are willing to kill him and others want to end everything in a blood bath to protect their involvement.

The movie was a mild box-office success, but a strong critical one. Even after seeing this movie numerous times back in the early 2000s, seeing it now, still had me hung on the screen to the end.

This movie stands tall on the list of notable movies directed by Gray, and for me this is my favorite from his list and one of Jackson’s best performances.