Paper Cara

Paper Towns. Here we go. The second movie adaptation of another John Green book. To be honest, I really don’t remember much from this book which I read like 3-4 years ago. But oh well, it’s out and I watched it.

And?

Well first of all, CARA FREAKING DELEVIGNE is one interesting creature.  Her eyebrows are just so mesmerising and oh yeah, she’s a model. This is really what caught my eye. Sure, it was a John Green novel turned into movie but I seriously could not remember if I liked the book or not. I probably did but not as much as The Fault in Our Stars and that movie was ….. let’s not talk about that one….BECAUSE! we are here for Paper Ca–Towns!

So this movie was all right.

If you must have me compare it, I enjoyed it much more than I did The Fault in Our Stars, the movie.

Reasons? Well, Cara first of all is just lovely.  This model turned actress (from scanning her wiki, this is probably her first lead role but it’s not her first time in acting) is surprisingly interesting to watch. I beg to differ but I swear this character was well written for her acting ability. There are times where she sounds like she’s just reciting some lines but it feels acceptable in context with the character she is playing who is quirky, strange and interesting. Her chemistry with Nat Wolff (the guy lead) was surprisingly enjoyable. The friendship they had and then the last time they see each other is awkward but familiar and I enjoyed how the both of them could convey that feeling through their interactions.

So onto Nat Wolff. I forgot he was in TFIOS (see how memorable that movie was for me?).  He played a rather likeable dude, especially when you foil him with his two buddies, Ben and Radar( I don’t think they ever explained this name, so just go with it). His character motivations largely depends on whether or not you buy the whole “i love you all this time” thing he has with Cara. If you don’t, then I guess he’s pretty bland. But then again, they could have worked on fleshing out this love line a lot better in terms of actual interaction rather than just some narrative and him repeatedly saying he likes her.

Now on to the supporting cast, I feel like all of them did a great job.  The trio had really good balance of character and chemistry.  Ben played by Austin Abrams was overtly sexually inappropriate and a joker where as Justice Smith as Radar was the rational and logical piece of the group.  The two girls on the other hand played rather stereotypical portrayals of their roles though (probably stems from Green’s writing) the arcs the couple plays is both a cliche (Ben&Lacey)and a step into reality (Radar&Angela).

Overall, the acting was what I expected, save a surprise here and there.

Now with the plot, I don’t really remember what the book was about so I can’t really compare the two but I should say that it probably was a good adaptation since Green was on set and all that, so he’s probably looking at what is different/same then again I don’t know how hands-on he is (though he did write the first draft of the screenplay).

But anyway, this story was fine. Clichés here and there but reality is still there. And that is what I enjoyed about this movie.  The plot had a balance on character troupes but dealt with them at times in a rather honest way.  Then again, this isn’t a real deep movie but then again it is dealing with subjects we have seen done so many times in other ‘teen’ movies (growing up, moving away, finding yourself) and the sad part is that it doesn’t tackle these issues in any new way.

One huge issue I had though was the voice-over narration. I feel that if they took it away and filmed things differently the first half of the movie would have been much more engaging and interesting but then instead we get Nat Wolff just talking about what is going onscreen. *yawn* Now in terms of pacing, it got a bit draggy and the movie should have been slimmed down by 10-15 minutes.  The set-up for the road trip took rather long and nothing really ‘happened’.

All in all, it’s above your typical YA book adaptation (about life rather than dystopias or whatever). So if you wanna see how a guy confronts his feelings, check it out. Or you just wanna see Cara ‘act’, also check it out. If you want to check out a Green adaptation, check it out.

side note: I don’t really see how the target audience for this are teen girls, I just don’t see it.  Rather fans of all Green should check this out to prove to stupid critics that this movie’s target audience is not just merely ‘teen girls’ cause his books clearly are not teen girls only books. Go read people.

Oh, a train movie?!

So Judd Apatow is back. Finally. It may seem like he’s been around all this time since his name is always being mentioned in films. This is 40.  But really, when you look at it, Trainwreck is only his 5th film yet his name is a synonymous for raunchy comedies.  I mean seriously, that poster should say “From the guy who brought you THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN” cause he only produced Bridesmaid. But anyway, let’s get back on track.

So this movie is enjoyable.

Audiences would probably like this a lot more (and tons of people are raving about this and its score of 85% on RT as of writing), if they watched Amy’s Comedy Central stuff. I for one have not so the only draw that I had from the trailers was Bill Hader and a Lebron cameo.  Hader was great in Skeleton Twins but I wasn’t too sure about this until I heard about how well this was being received.

So I watched it with that mindset and the result?

Like I said, this movie is enjoyable.

The cast is great all around.  Cameos thrown left and right are great fun.  Lebron James is no cameo but rather a supporting cast which is great and he was really amusing. Tilda Swinton was also amazing, I didn’t even recognize her as Amy’s boss until I looked up the credits.  Brie Larson foiled Amy’s character really well, playing her sister. And oh yeah, John Cena, oh my god, seriously this guy delivered a lot of laughs for sure.

Ok, enough about the supporting cast. How did the leads themselves do?

Well, Bill Hader was enjoyable and played a rather likeable dude and his bantering with Lebron was great fun, nothing to complain about here. Hader, from recent memory and wiki, seems to have always been in the supporting role and for him to star in a lead role so effortlessly is really great on his part but in terms of his actual character, we all have seen some sort of Aaron before in some film. So its not a break-out role, but regardless good on him for landing this gig.

Now, the main main character. Amy Schumer playing Amy, sounds a bit autobiographic doesn’t it? It probably actually is if I watch her Comedy Central stuff but then again I might not since she did that GQ thing with the unsanctioned Star Wars  photo shoot,  just from that you get an idea of what she’s all about.  Anyway back to the film.  She was great.  She isn’t your typical love interest in a love comedy. She’s easy to dislike as she doesn’t fit the mold but at the same time you sort of root for her cause her character is much more realistic than your typical Hollywood character.

Do note that Amy herself wrote this and the laughs are just great throughout.  And even if Amy is not onscreen, the great supporting cast has this movie locked down for the laughs.

Now, no movie is perfect and Trainwreck certainly is not though the comedy is pretty much golden here. The problems I have with it are the more drama heavy portions of the film where it feels very formulaic in the sense we have seen it before and it becomes rather predictable and a tad bit boring for my taste.

If you just watch the trailers, this seems like a straight up raunchy comedy but rather it is a drama comedy. The raunchy-ness is front and center in the beginning of the film but once the relationship starts going it dials it back down and the drama is turned up.  We have the side-plot about Amy and her relationship with her sister and her dad which I found at first totally fine but it got stale.  Furthermore, the actual ‘love’ plot is pretty predictable and really Hollywood, though I did enjoy the whole ‘do not go to sleep angry’ scenes, I really wish that she would have turned that love plot on its head and treated it differently. For the family relationships, I wish Amy didn’t pull that thing and mess up their relationship. I felt that their sisterhood was a great redeeming factor and for her to throw even that out was a bit of a stretch. And oh, this movie was too long. It could’ve been shorten by like 15 minutes for sure.

But beyond all that, this movie was enjoyable. It’s really nice to see Apatow finally behind the camera instead of producing. I mean it has been getting exhausting to see his name attached to all these mediocre comedies but to have him finally return and deliver Trainwreck was a great comeback.

I hope all who worked on this film continue to get great gigs and deliver fine performances cause they certainly deserve it.

Hello world! My grammar needs fixing and oh, movie review.

Hi there. Welcome to merewordsandopionions.

This place literally will be a place full of words and opinions. I run a youtube channel that is largely on movie reviews (which you can check out right over here SGCtellandshow ). I’ve been reviewing movies on youtube for about four years now. This whole time I did my reviews without a script and it was very ‘organic / train of thought’ type of reviews.  Recently I realize I would do a lot better in terms of structuring my reviews if I wrote things down. So yes this is the place where my reviews will be written.

I am not entirely sure how I will record my reviews once I have these things written down. Ideally I will write a review for a movie and then record it and follow the points that I made in the written review. Largely in part it will keep me from jumping from point to point inconsistently.

An example of my reviews would be that I talk about all the good things about a film and then move on to the bad and while talking about the bad I remember a good thing and then I start talking about that good thing. I look back and really wish that all the ‘good’ stuff of the movie was placed in the ‘good’ part rather than have one good thing pop up in the ‘bad’ part of the review. I hope that was clear and not confusing.

One major difference between here and my youtube will be that I will just put my thoughts here and skip the listing of information about the movie as in director/cast/producer/distrubuting company and what have you. I will mention these things but not list them out.

Right now I feel the structures of these written reviews will be:
Social Commentary (if there is any) – as in the pre-production stories/headlines

Parts I liked (though if its things such as I like this character but I didn’t like this character, i’ll put it in here rather than in the next part so then all the ‘character’ stuff is in the same place)

Part I dislike / Parts I wish was done better

Overall feeling / Social Commentary (if there is any)

All in all, this place will also be a place where I can hopefully improve on my written English as well as I have hardly written much ever since I graduated university. So yeah, not much else to be said about this place.

And with that, please enjoy the first written review of merewordsandopionions: Ant-Man

Featured image

Video review:
English Cantonese


I’m not really sure how Marvel even decided to release this movie less than 3 months after Age of Ultron. It seems a tad underwhelming wouldn’t you think?  You have Age of Ultron, which has all the Avengers and then some on one hand and then you have Ant-Man on the other, by his lonesome. How does that even compare? And plus this Ant-Man guy sounds stupid to people who haven’t even heard of him. I mean seriously a dude that fights with ants or has some sort of ant power? Those things don’t necessarily scream WATCH ME! Also ant MAN just begs to be compared to iron MAN or spider MAN so this movie may potentially not have a lot going for it.

And for those in the ‘know’ Edgar Wright was the original screen writer and director and he wrote this for years and was totally about to direct this and something happened and he walked. Having a director walk out production so close to first day of shooting does not also scream WATCH ME. But I highly doubt general audiences would know/search that stuff up so it doesn’t necessarily affect ‘general’ audiences expectations.

Personally I don’t know how this film is actually sandwiched between AOE and Civil War. I find that a bigger problem now that I’m writing this. But enough about all that, let’s get on with the movie.

It was fine.

This movie for the first 45 minutes really made me forgot that it was connected to the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe except for the very beginning with the whole old Agent Carter thing. I would definitely say this is the breath of fresh air we all needed after AOE. I mean sure Guardians did that but it was still ‘wacky’ enough that you would consider it a superhero / marvel film. But here with Ant-Man, it’s just a heist film about a thief who is trying to redeem himself but then he gets roped into this whole scheme about saving the world. So there’s that. And even when it went full on connecting to the rest of MCU it was done very well. As that fight with Falcon really did feel like an issue of a comic and it was just great fun that they would pull jokes, action AND connecting MCU tissue in that plot arc. So applause there.

The shrinking action was enjoyable even though it has been done in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids  back in 1989 but then again a lot of ‘general audiences’ might have forgotten or haven’t even seen that film so the shrinkage works here. It also lends itself well when Scott Lang is being trained and you as an audience get to understand everything with Scott and its not just an exposition narrative explaining things to the audiences for the sake of explaining. So I give it points that it includes the audiences and moves the story at the same time.

Speaking of Scott, Paul Rudd as him was done well. The comedy chops were there but he is playing the role that he normally plays in most films so its a rather safe role for him and it works here.  Actually everyone plays their roles well here though that can be largely due to in part that the characters were not complex to begin with.  Though I would say the Scott’s crew was the highlight in terms of characterization and it was fun to have them around, especially Michael Pena who was just all fun.

My biggest gripe in terms of characters with the film is how they used Evangeline Lily. With Hope I had really hope they would bank on her and make her a lot bigger and on par with the other females of the MCU but they didn’t. Rather she was just there to be angry about people around her. And it is just so sad. I mean they do show what happens to her in future films at the end credit scene, I just wish they used her better and made her a contender of her own as well rather than just shoving her into these stereotypical female business roles.

Another gripe is the villain.  Corey Stoll plays Yellow Jacket. A dude with the same power set as Ant-Man but add on with lazers. I just find it a tad bit boring. I mean really, it’s just Iron Man all over again. I feel that back then it was fine. But now that we’ve seen so many villains, it just gets exhausting to see another one with the same power-set as the hero. I really wish villians would do things differently to the hero. This is why I was looking forward to the Mandarin immensely when he was announced as the villain in Iron Man 3 cause it was tech vs. magic. How cool is that?

Anyway, power-set is an issue but another issue I have is the whole treatment of Marvel villains. I feel that they are mostly introduced well and their motivation in context to the hero is explained well but THROUGHOUT the film they get pretty predictable and boring. I wish villains were all memorable and not just Loki memorable but in their own rights in terms of character. Darren Cross was strange and hell-bent from the get-go so for him to stay the same and pretty much plateau in character is just lazy and boring. The worst part is that there is a part where they could have pretty much made him psychotic and just batshit crazy. But they didn’t or they didn’t address it. Seriously from killing a man to kidnapping a child, why couldn’t there be some sort of character development put in there.  Sure you could say, isn’t killing your mentor a step of crazy already? Yes, but it is in line with his whole character throughout the film. If he broke the line and went to the point where he thought killing children was acceptable, I would say he went even MORE crazy and that should have been addressed.

I mean really a superhero film is only as strong as its villain. Look at Spider-Man 2, Doc Ock vs. Spidey was great. Good guy turn bad = change of character / development.  Claws vs Web = different power-set. Even Spider-Man 1 did it right with the whole Goblin thing. It just seems that all the Marvel films just can’t get that down. If you were wondering, I would put Red Skull / Malekith under ‘strength’. Ronan would have worked but his character was just forgettable. Anyway we are getting off track here.

Now moving forward, I wonder how Ant-Man will be used in the upcoming Civil War as you can tell from the end credits, it will be an interesting dynamic with Scott and the Avengers since Scott was trained by a man who didn’t really like the Avengers. Inner conflict will be interesting for future films to come. And I don’t mean the science bickering from Stark and Banner but just straight up “I don’t really like how you guys do things” attitude that potentially might rub off Hank to Scott.

So all in all, Ant-Man was enjoyable. Though ideally I wish the MCU wasn’t going FULL THROTTLE wilth all these HUGE story arcs. I feel that if Ant-Man came out earlier like around the first Avengers, it would feel more at home.  Ant-Man is following a huge team film and then its followed by heavy story focused / risk everywhere films like Captain 3 and Thor 3 and I see it being affected and that it might potentially be forgotten in the upcoming year. Actually, I take that back, it is being forgotten cause a lot of people are just thinking about the 3s rather than a new character. So I would recommend Ant-Man as it is different as in how Guardians was different to the rest of MCU, but this time its much closer to home as it is literally taking place on Earth rather than in the far far away of space.