Friday, May 03, 2013

Movie thoughts: Mama (2013)

During our dating days me and Mabel used to watch a lot of horror movies. Those were the times when the Asian horror movies were released every other week. They ranged from the Japanese, Korean, Thailand, Hong Kong, and even Singapore. Sure many were average at best, but there were some really good ones which gave us enough scares to justify the movie tickets. I remember the Korean ones were really good, and so were the Japanese ones. I especially liked those with plot twists that you can't see coming from a mile away.

To me, what makes a good horror movie is it's ability to make you terrified.... even after you leave the theatre. The ones which haunt you and become the source of nightmares for the next few days, now those are the classics. A perfect example would of course be The Ring. The original Japanese one, not the horrible American remake. I distinctively remember how certain scenes were permanently embedded in my school day memories. The main reason why the Asian horror movies tend to be better than say western ones is the formula of not resorting to the "Scream" formula: relying on cheap scare tactics such as loud sound effects or the standard over the shoulder "boos". The good ones play with your mind. Take for instance, in many Japanese horror movies you never get to see the ghost's faces. In "Dark Water" you never actually saw the face of the little girl who drowned. In photos and posters, her face was always smudged. Likewise with Sadako in The Ring. It creeps you out, and makes you feel uncomfortable. That's one element which I felt gave the Asian movies the edge over the Hollywood ones. The ability to make you feel uncomfortable.

Ok, to the main topic. I watched Mama a few days ago, and to be honest I was pretty impressed. The reason why could perhaps be derived from why I spent so much time talking about what makes Asian horror films good. I felt Mama borrowed a lot of elements from the good Asian movies, and it made the movie stand apart from the rest of the Hollywood films. I don't really want to spoil anything for those who haven't watched the film, but what I do want to say is that while the plot might be a little unrealistic and perhaps some of the turn of events a little too far fetched, I enjoyed the movie. And that's coming from someone who complains a lot about "scary" movies. I jumped during quite a couple of scenes, which isn't usual, and I was having a blast laughing at myself. All in all, it's a good movie if you're into the horror genre. With mother's day round the corner, this might be a good way to remind yourself that a mother's love is forever :)

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Quick thoughts on Ironman 3

Finally watched Ironman 3 today after trying my best to avoid spoilers on social media since last week. I felt relieved actually, since I can now go read up on how the other viewers thought, about possibly the last Ironman movie we will see in a while. Or at least until the Avengers sequel. So without any ado these are my quick thoughts.

To set the stage right I loved the first film but hated the second. I thought the plot was weak and I couldn't stand a lot of the things that made the film cheap. Such as gapping plot holes that are obviously there for convenience's sake. Case in point, I didn't like how James Rhodes (or anyone other person for that manner), could just step into the Mk II, kick Ironman's ass and then fly away. I've always thought that the suit needed extremely fine tuning/calibration and that only Stark could use it. Anyway, the same thing happens in part 3 but I can just assume that the suits were designed to fit anyone. And I was happy to see that Petter Potts had problems controlling the armour.

Onto this movie, I must declare that I'm a non-comic book reader. Perhaps that's the reason why I enjoyed it. I don't have a lot of background knowledge on the Mandarin or the Extremis related story and took in everything fresh. Thus, there wasn't any hype to live up to in terms of the movie versions of long established characters. To many fans who were disappointed, I figure that it was because of the Mandarin being made a joke in the movie. But to me, I thought that it was still possible that the Mandarin exists. In the movie, it was mentioned that the actor who was brought in to play the role of the Mandarin received plastic surgery. Perhaps he was sought due to his resemblance to the actual Mandarin? Just a theory.

I thought the dialogue in this film was a lot better than the last one. I couldn't stand most of the conversations between Stark and Potts in part 2. This time round their chemistry was much better. Things I didn't like in this movie? While looking at so many suits was cool, I thought it made them look kinda "disposable". Pros and cons I guess. The plot itself has quite a few issues too but it's easy to look over them. For example, I thought Stark was taking it way too personal over Happy's injury. Yeah they were buds but to show such a public outcry was a little unjustified even for Tony Stark. I didn't like the President in the Iron Patriot suit part either, and I groaned when Rhodes used the suit to fire a shot at the wires to release the President. Remote sensing maybe? How else was he able to fire that shot? Anyways, to cut the whole post short, I thought the movie was pretty enjoyable, and the final post credit scene was worth the extra wait, although there wasn't any hints about the Avengers sequel. :)