[MOVIE] Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I wanted to watch this in the cinema but no one wanted to go with me. =( I made my dad watch A New Hope in hopes of making him interested in the series but to my dismay, he fell asleep within 15 minutes of starting the movie. Although I can’t blame him since the first few minutes of A New Hope were a tad slow.

starwarsposterAnyway, I’ve watched the Star Wars franchise a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (see what I did there?) that I kind of forgot already a good amount of the story. Watching The Force Awakens was pretty much a refresher for me; someone who has not watched in a long time. Even though I vaguely remember details about the Star Wars IV, V & VI, I couldn’t help but see a resemblance in the storyline in The Force Awakens. Too bad I can’t say what they are, but those who have watched it will know what I’m talking about.

The best thing about The Force Awakens? BB-8! Hands down. BB-8 is the most adorable thing ever. I would definitely want to have one. In fact, I’ve been longing for a BB-8 by Sphero which can be controlled via a smartphone. It looks totally cool but of course, it comes at a price. Not sure if I’m willing to cough up that much for BB-8 which I’m sure my puppies would just love to munch on and destroy.

Enough about BB-8, let’s move on. As for the movie itself, like I said, it was too much like its predecessors (story-wise) but when I watched it the second time and just watched it as it is, it was actually fun. Finn’s switch to the good side from being a Stormtrooper is an interesting twist. I’ve always thought Stormtroopers were mindless robots so it was cool to see a human-side to the Stormtroopers.

Rey was an interesting character as well as this is the first time (to my knowledge) that a girl Jedi is given the spotlight. She’s the new Anakin/Luke Skywalker. Please don’t tell me she joins the dark side a few installments later. That would just be too much.

I saw that Lupita Nyong’o also starred in this movie but I do not recall seeing her at all so I decided to look it up. Turns out Lupita is a CGI character called Maz Kanata. Man, I wouldn’t have thought it had I not looked it up. Her character reminds me a lot of Edna Mode from The Incredibles. They don’t look alike but their actions are quite similar.

For Star Wars first-timers, this would be a nice introduction. It might make you confused but you will catch up after a few minutes.

NinthMelody rating: 7/10

[MOVIE] The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

To be completely honest, I’ve forgotten that this movie ever came out last year. When I saw this one on the plane, I thought, hey, is this new? Turns out it was released in November 2015. How time surely flies.

Mockingjay-Part-2-final-PosterMockingjay Part 2 is the concluding story of The Hunger Games series. There were only 3 books but the movie industry loves to make dual parts so yeah, they divided it into 2. In my opinion, the two Mockingjay movies were less than appealing when watched individually. I remember watching the two separately and I was not excited nor invested in watching the movies.

One more thing about The Hunger Games movie I didn’t really like was the lack in chemistry of Katniss and Peeta. Until the very end, I didn’t really buy into their love story. I read the book and yes, I was all for Katniss and Peeta but in the movie, it just wasn’t there. In the beginning, it was all a deliberate ploy to get the people to support them. They pretended to be in love when clearly they weren’t. As the story moved along, supposedly Katniss and Peeta became in love (for real) but it wasn’t believable on screen. Every kiss from Katniss felt like she was hoping to make Peeta believe that she was in love but I was not falling for it. No, Katniss, you don’t look in love. The books were more detailed and immersive in telling the inner thoughts and feelings Katniss had for Peeta. Her feelings grew into love slowly and eventually but it was there. It was apparent. Sadly, it did not translate well in the movie (in my opinion).

As a standalone film, the Part 2 was more exciting than the first part but together, they are better. Watch the two parts in sequence and the experience would be much more thrilling. The Hunger Games marathon, anyone?

NinthMelody rating: 6.5/10

 

[MOVIE] The Big Short.

Another movie I watched amidst the long flight to the US was “The Big Short.” I didn’t know much about this movie except that it had big stars in it: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, etc. After starting the movie, only then did I find out that this was about the events leading to the financial crisis in the mid-2000s.

the-big-short-movie-posterThe movie shows how the credit and housing bubble collapse in 2005 was predicted and taken advantage of by a three different groups of people – Michael Burry (Christian Bale), Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) & Mark Baum’s (Steve Carell) team and a couple of young minor players in the industry by betting against the housing market. By betting against the housing market, the only they would win is if the majority of the Americans would fail to pay their mortgages. Their position was met with scoffs and criticisms from established bankers as such a thing seemed absurd at the time.

With such a serious topic, the movie was actually pretty entertaining. It breaks the four walls by having the characters explain to the audience some financial terms and situations which was made interesting by using cameos from celebrities like Anthony Bourdain, Selena Gomez, etc. The explanations were helpful although I wish they could’ve done more of those or at least explained some more terms which the general public most probably don’t understand.

The protagonists of this movie are betting in favor of the collapse of the economy. However, you can’t help but root for them if it means the downfall of the arrogant and greedy bankers that laughed in their faces. It is also sad, however, that despite knowing this major flaw and information about the housing market, the protagonists decide to make some money out of it instead of doing something about it to save the economy (although I’m not sure if there was anything they could’ve done anyway). They know what they’re doing is unethical but what is even more unethical is the action of the banks and the big organizations that made the housing bubble possible.

I hope the people and our governments learned from this crisis and that they would take it as a lesson. It would not be funny if the same thing happens again because of the negligence and greed of the big companies and if the government agency(ies) responsible in monitoring and policing such actions do not do a thing to prevent it.

NinthMelody rating: 7/10

[Movie] The Intern.

A couple of weeks ago, my Dad and I had to go to the US. The flights were extremely long and tiring and the only saving grace is that I was able to watch a number of movies inflight. The first one I watched was “The Intern” starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway.

intern2015As described by IMDb, the plot goes something like this: 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway).

The premise was promising and amusing. It’s an unconventional work practice which is what makes it interesting to watch. In the movie, Jules Ostin is being encouraged to get a new CEO for her company despite her protestations; one who has more experience than her in order for other companies to take her business seriously. Apparently, there is a stigma in the business industry towards young entrepreneurs due to their inexperience despite their early success.

Ben Whittaker, as an intern, is assigned menial tasks such as getting Jules’ laundry, driving her to and from work, buying lunch, etc. Through this, Ben and Jules get to know each other and learn from one another. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

The movie was fun all in all. I just wish there could’ve been a bit more. I was not completely satisfied with the outcome. For a good amount of the movie, I thought Ben Whittaker would be made CEO of the company since it seemed the most logical solution. But then again, had it gone that route, I probably would have said it was too predictable. (Yeah, I’m hard to please.)

Apart from that, I also wanted more depth in the story of Jules’ mother. It seems like it could’ve been resolved as well with the help of Ben but nope, nothing happened. It’s like the portion about the “mother’s email” was simply put there for comic relief. It was entertaining but it could’ve been made more fruitful.

Is it worth watching? Yes. Is it flawless? No. It is a good movie to watch and see the difference in perspective of the young and old generation. There is wisdom in all of us and we all can benefit by having an open and humble heart, willing to learn from one another.

NinthMelody rating: 7/10

Side note: Personally, I like working with those more experienced than me. I currently work at an organization where the average age of employees is  around 45-50. I am the baby in the office. There are so many things to learn from them given their experience and they actually like to share their acquired knowledge. There are times when it is difficult due to difference in perspective but hey, that happens all the time even in an organization full of the younger generation. What I like about the people I work with is that even though they know that there is a gap in experience and knowledge between me and them, they are open to learn from me as well. There are things I can contribute to the table that they don’t know anything about and they accept them wholeheartedly and gratefully.