Da Couch Tomato

An attempt at a new layout, with horrible glitches, and very minimal knowledge of HTML.
Bromance mode: on.

1. My god, Zendaya is so beautiful. I mean, Laura Harrier was hot, but Zendaya's beauty is on a whole other level.

2. Not many superhero movies focus on love stories. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a superhero/detective movie, or to quote my review from 2014, "it's a thriller mystery that just happens to be set in the Marvel Universe". Spider-Man: Far From Home in my opinion is a great teenage love story that just happens to be set in the MCU. You know it's a great love story if it makes you feel giddy as a schoolboy again.

3. Okay, with Mysterio using state-of-the-art holograms, I guess that makes him the MCU super villain that's hardest to beat. His power is similar to the X-Men villain Mastermind, except Mysterio uses technology and not mutant powers. Since Mysterio messes up one's sense of sight and sound (his illusions are visual and auditory in nature), I guess the heroes that stand a chance of easily defeating him would be Wolverine (he can sniff him out) and Daredevil, I guess. So yay for Spidey and his Peter Tingle!

4. The scene with Peter Parker swinging through the streets and canals of Venice is one of the most visually spectacular scenes in the film. I guess we've gotten so used to the costumed Spider-Man doing the webslinging, so seeing a human form do those aerial acrobatics is indeed a sight to behold. Plus, it doesn't look as fake as, say, the special effects ten years ago.

5. Ah, Marisa Tomei. She remains sexy as ever. She's an Oscar winner, by the way, did you know that? Well, that's probably slipped your mind, but it doesn't matter. She isn't in this movie to flex her acting muscles, anyway.

6. Aunt May dating Happy Hogan is hilarious. Happy has always been this arrogant adult around the web-slinging teenager, although he still acts quite smug about his romantic intrusion into the Parker household. Peter Parker not whooping Happy's ass just goes to show how well May and Ben raised their nephew. I'd have given Happy a hard time if I were in Peter's place.

7. Okay, why does Peter get to call his aunt by her first name? Maybe it's an American thing, but that's kind of a no-no in Philippine culture. So what if it was his late Uncle Ben that was his biological relative? May Parker is still his aunt by marriage, and as such deserves to be called by something that connotes respect.

7. Wow. J. Jonah Jameson is still played by J.K. Simmons. In Hollywood, when one says "reboot", the entire cast and creative team is scrapped in favour of new players. Tom Holland is the third screen iteration of Spider-Man, and his version is the second reboot. J. Jonah Jameson appeared in the first iteration with Tobey Maguire, was absent in the Andrew Garfield reboot, and then reappears in this film in the end credits scene. The only reason I can think of why Marvel decided to stick with J.K. Simmons is because that man IS J. Jonah Jameson. Although I'm sure a bit of casting effort can give the audience a new J. Jonah Jameson, everybody knows J.K. Simmons was born to play the part.

8. In relation to the above, I would argue that J.K. Simmons isn't the first Marvel character to play the same role in a franchise reboot. That belongs to William Hurt, who played General Ross in the Edward Norton iteration of The Incredible Hulk, and also played the same character in Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame. Except the last two weren't really Hulk movies, so yeah. It's complicated.

8. Martin Starr is an awesome. I only know him as Gilfoyle from HBO's Silicon Valley, but I can tell how good an actor he is, because his entire character is different. Gilfoyle is a lazy, arrogant Satanist with a deep voice, while as Mr. Harrington, he is a believable high school teacher managing day-to-day school stress.

9. The black and red Spidey costume is actually pretty cool. The Spidey costume I was used to was the old red and blue suit, the blue of which could range anywhere from RGB blue to dark navy blue. Seeing red and black on this iteration of Spider-Man was a welcome surprise indeed. The one in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse doesn't count, beause that one's dominantly black with red highlights.

10. What's up with Nick Fury? So was he a shape-shifting Skrull all along? How long has this been going on? Also, why the twist? I know this is the end of Marvel s Phase 3, but what does that mean for Phase 4 if Nick Fury wasn't who we thought he was all along? Ugh, so many unanswered questions.

"Slow down, I need to be nearer the camera. Because you're taller than me."



Spider-Man: Far From Home. USA. 2019.



Original rating: 8.6/10
No Zendaya nudity: -0.1
No Marisa Tomei nudity: -0.1
Jake Gyllenhaal: +0.1
Samuel L. Jackson: +0.1
Jon Watts's directing: +0.1
Final rating: 8.5/10
"Freddie Mercury's got nothing on me."

1. I came across Dexter Fletcher as an actor in HBO's Band of Brothers and Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. That's why it came as a pleasant surprise that he can actually direct. I don't know why, but I have great respect for actors-turned-directors. It shows a seriousness to the craft, and a love of the art form. He actually took over the director's chair in last year's Bohemian Rhapsody after some production problems forced the studio to fire Bryan Singer, although Singer retained sole directing credit. Rocketman gives Fletcher full credit, and the director totally deserves it.

2. Taron Egerton is one underrated actor. This has already been pretty evident from 2015's Eddie the Eagle. He's not the typical Hollywood pretty boy (maybe because he's Brit), and he doesn't have the standard multi-ethnic American look (also maybe because he's Brit). It's not his looks, though, that needs to be utilised. It's his acting chops.

3. Speaking of underrated actors, so is Jamie Bell. He's very low-key in almost every movie he's in, able to blend into his role, and not standing out as one of those "Hey, I know that guy, he looks familiar" kind of actors. I think both Taron and Jamie Bell are underrated because they are not boxed into specific molds. They aren't chiseled action stars, or boys-next-door, or leading man types: they're versatile. That said, Jamie Bell played Bernie Taupin marvelously because, as in real life, Taupin never upstaged Elton John, but contentedly remained behind the scenes.

4. Admittedly, I am not a huge Elton fan. I do know a lot of his songs, though, and I can sing some of them from memory. That's how popular he was. Apparently, his discography goes way deeper than the usual karaoke staples, and Rocketman introduces most viewers to a body of work any musician would aspire for. For those experiencing Elton John for the very first time, this film acts as a pretty comprehensive introduction to the man and his music.

5. Magical realism is a technique or style in fiction that "uses magical elements to make a point about reality". It is used more in literature, popularised by the literary giants of Latin America, but it is also used in cinema, although not as many films have pulled it off correctly (the ones of note are the French film Amelie from 2001 and Tim Burton's Big Fish from 2003). The correct way to utilise magical realism is by using the technique sparingly: make the established reality appear solidly real enough, with the magical elements acting merely like sprinkles on the ice cream of reality. Dexter Fletcher's decision to use magical realism to tell Elton John's life story has been one of the best decisions in the making of this film.

"Are you supposed to be a bird of paradise or something?"
"Nope. A sarimanok."

6. Hairspray is a musical. Les Misérables is a musical. Ray is a biopic. Bohemian Rhapsody – if you'll agree that it's about Freddie Mercury and not Queen – is a biopic. Rocketman, however, straddles both worlds: Rocketman is a musical biopic. A biopic is a feature film about a certain person, which makes it biographical in nature, and is usually told as straight-up storytelling. A musical, on the other hand, uses song and dance in lieu of the usual dialogue exchange (it can be for some scenes, or it can be for all scenes). Rocketman does both: it tells the story of Elton John, and it uses song and dance to tell that story. Song and dance numbers in musical biopics are not merely incidental to the story; they are an integral part of the story.

7. Richard Madden's hair is annoying. I guess I got so used to him as Robb Stark that even the sight of him without facial hair is annoying. But it's not just his facial hair (or actually the lack thereof) that bugs me. It's his sleazeball hairdo, combed to the side and long at the back, like some douchebag from Elizabethan times. It's very cringe-worthy, in my opinion. Ugh.

8. If you've known Elton John in his early days, you'd know he was a flamboyant showman, given to loud and extravagant costumes. I wouldn't say they're 100% accurate, but I'd say they're pretty close. There's even a side-by-side comparison in the end credits, showing the real photographs beside the modern recreation, and you can see there are very small, very subtle differences in the wardrobe used. It's the spirit that matters, anyway, not the one-to-one correspondence down to the last sequin. Nobody really cares about that.

9. A musical is an audio-visual experience. The songs and music, those are the audio part. The visual part would be the dance and choreography. These visual elements work very well for Rocketman because of the gorgeous camera movements and the smooth transitions. I wouldn't be surprised if they adapted this into a theatre musical for Broadway or the West End.

10. It doesn't really matter if Taron Egerton can't play piano. In case you noticed it, there are no shots showing Taron's hands actually playing the piano. He probably knows how to play a little, but not enough to fake being a virtuoso like Elton. His performance is believable enough, and his acting as sincere as it can get, that no one really cares if he's actually playing piano or not.

"Just stay in the background, Madden, your hair sucks."



Rocketman. UK/USA/Canada. 2019.



Original rating: 8.4/10
Bryce Dallas Howard: +0.1
Stephen Graham: +0.2
Final rating: 8.7/10
Strangely, Duke Caboom looks a lot like Keanu Reeves.

I've said this over and over again: I am not a fan of sequels for profit's sake.

That said, Toy Story 4 should not have been made. Toy Story 3 would have been the perfect closer, as the entire Toy Story franchise would've focused on Andy and his relationship with his toys. We began with Andy as a young boy, and ended with Andy going off to college and passing on his toys to someone worthy of playing with these magical mischief-makers. Toy Story 3 was the perfect ending we all needed.

But that's that. Toy Story 4 did get made. So we're gonna have to deal with it.

The good thing about this fourth film is that it wasn't terrible. It wasn't bad at all. Well, it wasn't perfect, and neither was it great. It was just... good.

The rest of the cast, I believe, reprised their roles, led by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as Woody and Buzz, Annie Potts as Bo Peep, Joan Cusack as Jessie, Wallace Shawn as the slightly neurotic Rex, John Ratzenberger as Hamm, and Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head. But the best thing about this ensemble would be the new additions. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Key and Peele fame play the amusement park stuffed toys Ducky and Bunny, Christina Hendricks plays the creepy doll Gabby Gabby, Tony Hale plays Forky, while the Internet's boyfriend Keanu Reeves plays Duke Caboom, the Canadian daredevil with a penchant for motorbikes. If only a ten-movie deal were in order, these new guys definitely need to be back.

The thing that ties the whole four-film series together would be Randy Newman's music, which has Toy Story written all over it. Newman's country-like drawl set to the soothing sounds of acoustic steel guitars has been the series's signature sound since Toy Story's debut in 1995, and to deviate from that now would be alienating to the fans, especially those who didn't want a fourth movie in the first place.

All in all, Toy Story 4 feels like an epilogue. But not just your usual epilogue – it feels like an epilogue that forces its nostalgia on its viewers, sort of like having a completely wrapped trilogy and then going, "Hey, wait! We still have more little anecdotes to share! Don't leave!" Honestly, though, I hope this is the end of the series. New and original films are what's missing in Hollywood right now, and it seems that even the pre-movie Pixar short film, the last great venue of original animated storytelling, was taken out of the equation. Bring it back, please.

"Nah, I don't think we're getting our own spin-off."



Toy Story 4. USA. 2019.



Original rating: 8.0/10
Rashida Jones as one of the story writers: +0.1
Badass Bo Peep: +0.1
No Pixar short: -0.3
Final rating: 7.9/10
"If you're black and I'm white, does that make me Tommy Lee Jones?"

1. Tessa Thompson rocks. I'm not really sure if she's a lesbian in real life, but she is hot. She rocked Westworld, she rocked being an Asgardian, and she sure can hell rock a black suit as a Man Woman In Black.

2. God, I really hate Chris Hemsworth. The guy's so good-looking, he can actually pull off pink slacks. Pink! I mean, not hot pink, or the warm pink that borders on fuchsia. It's baby pink. And he can pull it off without a hitch. Don't you just hate someone like that? 

3. Although this is technically a spin-off, MIB: International manages to retain the look and feel of the original trilogy. Usually, a spin-off is granted a blank slate, which the filmmakers could have used to their advantage. This was seen in films such as The Force Awakens, which paid homage to the look and feel of the original Star Wars saga while at the same time venturing off to explore uncharted territory to expand the universe. MIB: International does just that, and shows a lot of potential in universe-expansion should it decide to continue the International spin-off as a new trilogy. 

4. The black dreadlocked twins remind me of the twins in The Matrix Reloaded. They're also both like the coolest characters in their respective movies. 

5. I love the MIB font. I forgot what the font is called, although it is mentioned at the end credits. I just forgot to take note of it. So I guess I'll have to wait for the video release to catch it again. There are a lot of imitation typefaces out there, but I want the original one.

6. Chris Hemsworth isn't carrying the whole film, which is nice. You'd think that being the one with top billing, he'd carry the whole film, and that the entire thing would collapse without him. Definitely not true. Tessa Thompson can definitely hold her own, and I wouldn't be surprised if they decide to do a sequel with just her and without Hemsworth.

7. The alien character designs for the first three films feel very unique, like they actually belong to the Men In Black cinematic universe and nowhere else. The character designs for this film, on the other hand, feel more like Star Wars, like they had J.J. Abrams's seal of approval or something. That's a good thing, don't get me wrong; I guess I just miss the uniqueness of the old aliens.

8. Chris Hemsworth's comedic chops are what will probably fuel his acting career long after his good looks have faded away. We could already see glimpses of this from Thor: Ragnarok, and even his female co-stars in Ghostbusters had nothing but praise for how funny he is. I guess it's unfair to the rest of the males on this planet that Chris Hemsworth gets all the good looks and humour.

9. I miss Tony Shalhoub. His Jeebs character in the previous films was one of my favourite characters in this series, and short as it is, every second of his screen time is priceless. He could have had his own spin-off, God bless him.

10. Rebecca Ferguson was underused. Yeah, granted she had weird hair and four arms, but still. Or was that three arms? Whatever. If you have someone as beautiful as Rebecca Ferguson in your movie, you should make the most of it. I wish they'd shown more of her face, though. But I guess she chose this role for a reason, and that is to show the world that she's more than just a beautiful face. She actually can take on the weird roles, too.

"Just try not to gain weight for the sequel."



Men In Black: International. USA. 2019.



Original rating: 8.0/10
No Rebecca Ferguson nudity: -0.1
No Tessa Thompson nudity: -0.1
Emma Thompson: +0.1
Liam Neeson as the bad guy: -0.1
F. Gary Gray's direction: +0.1
Dreadlocked twins: +0.1
Kumail Nanjiani: +0.1
Final rating: 8.1/10
Why do most mutants have blue skin, anyway?

I am probably one of the few Marvel fans that wish the X-Men franchise would wrap up.

The franchise can be divided into two periods: the first would be the Patrick Stewart-Ian McKellen era, the second would be the James McAvoy-Michael Fassbender era. The two eras overlap slightly in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past, which for me is also the best film in the whole franchise.

As a kid, I was a Marvel fan, but the X-Men comics were my favourite. I owned The Dark Phoenix Saga compilation (I didn't really own it; I borrowed it from a classmate and never returned it), and I've read it several times before the pages turned brittle and gave up on me. Now that was a great read. I remember how I used to spend hours in my bedroom reading it, occasionally shifting to my drawing book, inspired to try my hand at drawing my own comics.

Okay, enough about that. This isn't a post reminiscing about my childhood.

There is a lot of focus in this film on Charles Xavier's guilt about Jean Grey's childhood. Both of Jean's parents died in a car accident, which was actually her fault. Now imagine a childhood trauma that strong, coupled with an insanely powerful mutant ability. That is a recipe for disaster right there; no wonder Jean Grey turned out as the damaged mutant she is. If this film teaches us any valuable lessons regarding mental health, it is that repressing memories is never good. But that's probably easier said than done.

Mystique's death at the hands of Jean Grey came as a blow to most viewers, but that would of course be a preferable death compared to just some lame gunshot wound to the head or falling off a cliff. Jennifer Lawrence has been the Raven most fans would remember, but only because the original Mystique practically never appeared without make-up. As this is (most probably) the last we'll see of JLaw in this franchise, it's only appropriate that she be given a proper dramatic send-off.

What would have made the Dark Phoenix saga complete was the presence of Wolverine. The unlikely pairing of Jean Grey and Logan is a favourite among comic book fans, and it was referenced in the first X-Men films with Famke Janssen and Hugh Jackman. I don't think it would've worked with Sophie Turner, though, seeing as Jackman is way older than her, and that any romantic tension between both of them would come off as pedophilia.

And finally, let's talk about Hans Zimmer's wonderful score. There's a part in the film's score where you can hear a ticking clock sound, and I thought to myself, "That sounds like Hans Zimmer's Dunkirk score." Turns out I was right. Before this film, Zimmer has only scored DC movies, making this his first foray into Marvel territory. Hopefully this won't be his last.

Too bad we won't be seeing her in the MCU.



Dark Phoenix. USA. 2019.



Original rating: 7.5/10
No Sophie Turner nudity: -0.1
No Jessica Chastain nudity: -0.1
Tye Sheridan looking like he has a VR headset: -0.1
Not enough Nightcrawler: -0.1
Not enough Peter Maximoff: -0.1
Simon Kinberg writing and directing: +0.1
Final rating: 7.1/10
"We are NOT doing any sequels, all right?"

Since we all know that Disney's latest trend of remaking their entire catalogue of animated films isn't going away anytime soon, let's just accept it. After all, they wouldn't keep making more if we didn't keep watching them. So we are partly to blame for this.

One commendable thing about this film, though, is Disney's decision to avoid "whitewashing" by casting actors more ethnically suited to the story. Casting relatively unknown but culturally appropriate actors was a huge gamble, especially after receiving flak during the film's developmental stage for the earlier casting choices (Tom Hardy as Jafar, come on). I'm glad to see it paid off.

Anyway, let's go ahead and analyse Aladdin using three different criteria. 

FAITHFULNESS TO THE SOURCE MATERIAL
I am fairly certain that a huge chunk of this film's audience was alive when the 1992 animated film hit theatres, so the filmmakers needed to preserve the visual look to satisfy these paying customers. Mena Massoud is still cute enough for young girls to crush over, and Naomi Scott is still hot enough for young boys to masturbate to. Her outfit though isn't as revealing as the animated Princess Jasmine, but nobody seems to mind. Costumes here are more conservative, so no, there won't be any glimpse of Mena Massoud's abs.

The plot is basically the same, save for a few additions made. Some of the changes include the addition of new characters such as the Caucasian suitor Prince Anders (Billy Magnussen) and Princess Jasmine's handmaiden Dalia (Nasim Pedrad), the introduction of the genie and Dalia's love story, and a longer and more intense action sequence in the last part.

SPECIAL EFFECTS
Robin Williams' genie was an icon of the 1990s, so one of the challenges for a live-action remake would be preserving the genie's skin colour. I don't think this is particularly hard to pull off for Disney, especially after Guardians of the Galaxy showcased actors with blue and green skin. So I don't really understand the decision to go with a blue CGI Will Smith. Don't get me wrong, Will Smith's performance was all right, since he brought his own style to the performance without trying to be a Robin Williams copycat, and his best moments are those where he isn't blue.

Overall, the special effects could have been better. The CGI animals, namely the monkey Abu, the parrot Iago, and the tiger Rajah, were great. The flying carpet, too, was a welcome throwback to the animated carpet, but it looked good mainly on its own. However, the scenes showing Aladdin and Jasmine soaring, tumbling, and free-wheeling through an endless diamond sky looked kind of fake. The most magical scene in the entire film looked obviously green-screened.

THE MUSIC
The soundtrack was basically the same songs of the 1992 flick, with a few new songs thrown in. For the new songs, original composer Alan Menken teamed up with Benji Pasek and Justin Paul for the lyrics, giving the girl-power anthem "Speechless".

My only gripe is that the new songs, for me, feel like they were written in 2019. It doesn't have the feel of like a missing song from the original soundtrack which was just re-released this year but was actually written back in 1992 with the old songs. It just feels, I don't know, new. But that's just my opinion, coming from someone who grew up listening to the original songs. I'm interested in how a young viewer who's never seen the old film perceives the new music. And I'm also interested in Lea Salonga's opinion of this movie.


In case you hadn't noticed, I didn't mention this film was directed by Guy Ritchie. That's because this film doesn't look and feel like a Guy Ritchie flick at all. I like Ritchie as a director because of his distinct visual style, which appears nowhere in this movie at all. So let's just chalk this up to Ritchie selling out so he gets money to do the movies he really wants to do.

"Yes, I'm a dimpled Middle Eastern hottie. Deal with it."



Aladdin. USA. 2019.



Original rating: 7.8/10
No Naomi Scott nudity: -0.1
Alan Tudyk: +0.1
Aladdin and Jasmine's flirting and sexual tension: +0.2
Not-ugly Jafar: -0.1
Parkour scenes: +0.1
Actors pronouncing "Agrabah" with an accent: -0.05
Final rating: 7.95/10
"Are these direwolves?"

•This film is porn. No, not that kind of porn. It's action porn, and we have lots of it. There's still a story, of course, because this is a franchise, and no film franchise is built on the back of a gimmick alone. This film has a narrative, yet at the same time, there's also a ridiculous amount of action. And it's not just the running time of the action sequences; it's also the intensity of these scenes that makes John Wick what it is.

•Remember in the first John Wick when we hear about the anecdote of John Wick (Keanu Reeves) killing guys with a pencil? And how in John Wick 2, we actually see him kill guys with a pencil? Well, that's nothing. A pencil is a sharp object, after all, of course it can kill! In Parabellum, we see John Wick kill someone with a book. Not a flimsy pocket paperback, obviously, but still. Killing someone with a book!

•I've always been a fan of big dogs. I'm okay with small dogs, only because I won't be spending as much on food. But big dogs I really like, because these are closest to wolves. After seeing the canine action sequence with none other than Halle Berry, I now want an attack dog of my own. Not for attacking people, but for farting stars and puking rainbows.

•For those of you who haven't seen an action sequence on horseback, let me tell you that Parabellum's horseback action sequences are probably the best ever in the history of cinema. That's saying a lot, since one of the earliest motion pictures was about a horse galloping, so it's about time horses got the onscreen badassery they deserve. A horse kicking a thug in the face, I mean, come on!

•Okay, so how's this for a realisation: John Wick isn't actually American. His real name is Jardani Jovanovic. So he's an immigrant. Or a child of immigrant. Either way, it leans toward the trope that the best assassins are imported from Eastern Europe, what with those scenes of ballerinas and Greek wrestling (and detached toenails! Ugh). I guess it adds to the film's international flavour.

•I enjoyed the scenes with Anjelica Huston, but I enjoyed the scenes with Halle Berry more. This film is already a testosterone-filled ride as it is, and it's too bad scenes with strong women such as Anjelica Huston and Halle Berry weren't enough to balance the scales of manliness. I hope future films in the franchise can give us a great female antagoinst.

•I love Mark Dacascos. Older cinephiles know who Mark Dacascos is: a great martial artist with Filipino blood. The last time I saw him onscreen was in 2001's Le Pacte des Loupes (The Brotherhood of the Wolf), where he played a Native American in the early French colonies in the Americas. Here he plays a Japanese assassin, more than a match for John Wick himself. How come Filipinos rarely play Filipinos onscreen?

•Jerome Flynn, more popularly known as Bronn in Game of Thrones, was sadly underused. He can play a believable villain, especially with his seemingly natural douchebaggery, but I believe his thespian skills can also make him a believable good guy. Sadly, we're not going to find that out now, because the filmmakers killed him off. Too bad, Mr. Flynn.

•The best thing about the entire John Wick franchise is its action. The fight scenes have this realism to it, like you're actually watching two people having a go in an alley behind a bar. It doesn't have the flashy choreography of something like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Kill Bill, but that's because the story doesn't call for it. The John Wick films pay tribute to the dark and seedy underworld of assassins for hire, and the realistic approach to the fight scenes gives it the believable grit it needs to keep viewers cringing. Also, that scene with the knife being stabbed in the eye just makes me shudder. They didn't have to make it that realistic.

•For the next installment, I hope we get more heavy hitters for the High Table. Of course, it is inevitable that we get to meet the High Table, because as film franchises grow, so do its cinematic universes, so it only makes sense that the universe of John Wick slowly unravels for the audience. For a council with so much power, I was expecting a bigger, grander High Table. Here in Parabellum, the closest we get to the High Table was in that desert scene (where Wick cuts his finger off, ugh). It's not bad, though. Come to think of it, for an organisation as cloak-and-dagger as the High Table, I guess meetings in the desert are standard practise.

Of course there'll be a dog in John Wick 4. It's a running joke.



John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum. USA. 2019.



Original rating: 8.2
No Halle Berry nudity: -0.1
Laurence Fishburne: +0.1
Neo, Morpheus, and the Keymaker reunion: +0.1
No Aisa Kate Dillon nudity: -0.1
Lance Reddick from The Wire: +0.1
Ian McShane: +0.1
Jason Mantzoukas: +0.1
Chad Stahelski's direction: +0.1
Final rating: 8.5
Ever since, Jon Snow knew nothing.

Farewell, Game of Thrones.

1. I remember the first time I encountered Game of Thrones. I only read the books later, but I remember reading a feature about HBO's upcoming new show, and it had me at the premise: "The Sopranos in Middle-Earth". And ever since the pilot dropped, I’ve watched every episode religiously on the day they aired.

2. I remember the first time I discovered Tumblr. Well, I’ve been on Tumblr for a while already before GoT, but back then, I used it more like a blogging platform. I remember it was the GoT memes back in Season 1 that made me realise what Tumblr was really for: a magical place of memes and GIFs for every fandom in the world.

3. I remember creating this meme for Season 2, then hearing from a friend that my meme was going viral on 9Gag, although my creator watermark at the bottom was cropped out. I then went on 9Gag and confronted the person who uploaded it and tried to tell him that he stole his post from me. He tried to explain it to me, but I forgot how things went down after that.

Deviantart

4. I remember how the culture of spoilers, although it may have started way before GoT began, actually peaked during GoT’s historical run. History will remember this as the period when spoiler ethics were set by the global community. See, if we can agree on what constitutes a spoiler, then we should be able to agree on anything.

5. I remember how I wasn’t that into Sophie Turner before. Yeah, she was very pretty, but I didn’t really find her sexually attractive – yet. Then I saw her rapping to Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady”, and her hotness level just skyrocketed through the roof. Now I am a super fan.


6. I remember after the first two seasons, I decided I wanted to try reading the books. So I had this really crappy, cheap-ass laptop (I don’t think it was even a proper laptop, it was more like a portable low-end gadget that can do very primitive computer functions), and I started reading the books, meaning the A Song of Ice and Fire saga. A little into the third book, I found that I didn’t remember most of the details being mentioned in the text, so I tried going back to the previous books and discovered that although I recalled a certain detail being mentioned, I had difficulty locating where that detail was in the text, which was in .pdf format. Conclusion: I prefer reading real books to e-books, because with old books, I could remember where I read a certain detail, and what part of the page it was located. Strangely, that skill didn’t carry over to digital books. How sad.

7. I remember when I first realised that this was the biggest television show in human history. It was when I read an article saying that Game of Thrones was the most pirated show in history (not anymore, although it was the Number 1 most pirated show for six years in a row). And by pirated, I mean illegally downloaded. I mean, for HBO to take a relaxed stand on the piracy of its show means only one of two things: it doesn’t mind the piracy, because it brings the show to an even wider audience, or the piracy has gotten so out of control because of the sheer numbers.

8. I remember when Season 6 of Game of Thrones coincided with the 2016 Philippine presidential elections. Even the Commission on Elections used GoT references for their election materials. That’s how big this show got, people.


9. I remember being surprised that Jim Broadbent would be joining the show. Of course I knew who Jim Broadbent was before this, but after watching his very first scene, I was just blown away. After that, I decided to watch old Jim Broadbent films, and now I am a huge fanboy. Also, I think I created a Reddit account just so I could post this:

Jim Broadbent should win an award for his performance as Archmaester Ebrose from r/HBOGameofThrones


10. I remember reminiscing on my early attempts at meme-making, and so I decided to make memes again for Seasons 6 and 7. This particular Season 7 meme of mine garnered 6K+ upvotes. A personal best. You’re welcome, 9Gag.

9Gag

11. I remember the sadness I felt during the last season. My excitement when the Battle of Winterfell aired, and my annoyance at how dark the screen was. My reservations that Sansa Stark was turning into a bitch. My disappointment at Daenerys’s descent into madness. My sadness at Varys’s execution. My non-surpise at Jon stabbing Daenerys in the throne room. My grief at Cersei and Jaime buried under all that rubble. My admiration at Tyrion Lannister’s integrity. My amazement at Drogon melting the Iron Throne. My snicker at Bran Stark being named king. And my sadness upon realising that there might never be another show like this, watched, celebrated, and talked about collectively by millions around the world.

And now my watch has ended.

Where's Lena?



Game of Thrones. USA/UK. 2010-2019.



Original rating: 10/10
Surpassing the books: -0.1
Rushing the last two seasons: -0.1
Final rating: 9.8/10
"I feel like I'm ripping off Arthur Conan Doyle with this deerstalker."

Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment, two Hollywood powerhouses, join together to bring us Detective Pikachu. The official title of the movie, according to IMDb, is Pokémon Detective Pikachu, because Detective Pikachu refers to the Nintendo 3DS game. But this review isn't for the game, so there really won't be any confusion when I refer to the film as simply Detective Pikachu.

So anyway, is this movie based on the game? I don't know, I've never played it. So this review will not be referencing the film's gaming roots in any way.

I admit, I was a casual fan of the cartoons. Wait, scratch that. I am a casual gamer of Pokémon Go. So with the cartoons, what's less than a casual fan? A sporadic fan, maybe? I'm not sure. Point is, my knowledge of Pokémon isn't that solid to begin with.

Remember back in 2007, when Michael Bay released the first Transformers film (which incidentally was the very first film reviewed on this blog)? You might remember the backlash it received from fans for not staying true to the eighties TV show. Why’d they make Bumblebee a Camaro, they asked, when Bumblebee was a Volkswagen Beetle, and a Volkswagen Beetle only, nothing else. The only thing they retained was the colour, because Bumblebee can only be yellow. Wait, what was my point?

Oh yes, the fans. So the fans actually taught Hollywood a valuable lesson when it comes to adapting existing source material. If the source material is a book, then visual interpretations may be free for all, except for very specific descriptions the author used. But if the source material is another visual medium, such as a comic book, or a children’s cartoon in this case, then of course there must at least be a semblance of visual similarity, because that is what the viewers will be looking for.

And who are the viewers in this case? Although the studios may argue that these films are meant to draw in new audiences, let’s face it: these films are driven by nostalgia, and are really directed at those who were young once and now are employed and thus have money to spend at the cinema. That’s the same with every piece of adapted cinema that is released twenty years after its source material, such as Charlie’s Angels, the Transformers franchise, Inspector Gadget, and many more. (One can also argue that Mission: Impossible started off like this, but has grown so big that it has taken a life of its own now, with fans that don’t know and don’t care about the 1970s television show that inspired it.)

Wait, what are we talking about again? Oh yes, Detective Pikachu. Particularly visual similarity. Well, all I have to say is that the adaptation of the flat two-dimensional animated Pokémon into their three-dimensional computer-generated counterparts was extremely faithful. None of that “Bumblebee is a Camaro” crap. The Cubones you see on the big screen is exactly the same as the one in your childhood memories. So are the Squirtles. The Growlithes. The Gastlies. And of course, the lovable Pikachu. Except for one small thing: Pikachu’s voice.

No more “Pika Pika” cuteness here. Instead of miming and context clues, the filmmakers gave Pikachu a voice, and that is Ryan Reynolds on cocaine. I’m kidding, of course, it’s just regular Ryan Reynolds. It is of course a bit jarring at first, but don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.

Detective Pikachu went to great lengths to give us something that deserves being called a detective flick, with the cinematographer even shooting on 35 mm film to make it feel more like Blade Runner. Aside from Pikachu sporting a deerstalker–an obvious homage to Sherlock Holmes–all the elements of classic mystery storytelling are here, albeit toned down for a younger audience. Don’t expect a great whodunit, though, because the plot’s fairly easy to predict. Just sit back and suspend your disbelief, is what I would suggest. It’s the ride that matters, anyway.

"Am I gonna get my own movie?"



Pokémon Detective Pikachu. USA/Japan/Canada. 2019.



Original rating: 7.2/10
Pikachu sounding like Deadpool: +0.1
No Kathryn Newton nudity: -0.1
Justice Smith: +0.1
Bill Nighy: +0.1
Ken Watanabe: +0.1
Psyduck: +0.1
Final rating: 7.6/10
"Can we get porn on this thing?"

•The best part of Avengers: Endgame is not the fact that it's a superhero movie, nor is it the fact that it is the final film in possibly the first cinematic franchise of different films sharing an interconnected universe. The best thing about this flick is its genre, and that is time travel, my favourite movie genre ever. A time-heist, in the words of Scott Lang (the Ant-Man, played by Paul Rudd). It even ranks itself among other great time travel movies such as Back to the Future, The Terminator, Bill and Ted, Somewhere In Time, Hot Tub Time Machine, and Time Cop, among others. Then it differentiates itself from the rest by basically saying Back to the Future was bullshit.

•Captain America (Chris Evans) is worthy of Mjolnir. Although I was a Marvel fan as a kid, my Marvel knowledge was mostly limited to the X-Men and Spider-Man. Imagine my suprise when Cap is finally revealed to be worthy of lifting both Mjolnir and Stormbreaker (although this was already hinted at in Avengers: Age of Ultron). Weapon interchangeability is kind of new to me, see.

•When we see Cap at the end, when he hands over his shield to Falcon (Anthony Mackie), he is an old man. But if he returned all the stones to the moment they were taken, then that means the original timeline was preserved. But he married Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), so that means he created a new timeline where they grew old together. That's a plot hole right there, but apparently that can be explained by having him live out his new timeline and then travel back to the original timeline to give his shield away. That is if we work under the assumption that Pym particles can make you travel not just back and forth in one timeline, but across different alternate timelines as well. But that's a stretch, if you ask me.

•Captain America is a title. Just like Black Panther is a title. And Sorcerer Supreme. Captain America is not Steve Rogers, but rather Steve Rogers is Captain America. They are not interchangeable. When Steve Rogers dies, the mantle of Captain America can be passed on to another worthy person. In the same way, T'Chaka was the previous Black Panther before he died and his son T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) became the new Black Panther. Also like how the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) held the title of Sorcerer Supreme before it was passed on to Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch).

•Ant-Man time-travelled, but Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) was first. Although the whole time travel idea was Scott Lang's (as well as the term "time heist"), his previous experience wasn't time travel per se, but more of getting lost in the quantum realm and realising time had passed differently for him. The first proper time traveller who travelled to a specific time and space was Hawkeye. But following the rules of time travel, he shouldn't have taken that baseball glove with him. I hope they put it back to the point it was taken so as not to mess up any timelines.

•The girl power scene would have been great with Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson). Of course we all loved the girl power scene in Avengers: Infinity War, and we also adore the character that embodies girl power itself, Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). But even before the strong female characters in the MCU, Black Widow was already whooping supervillain ass. She was the first among Marvel's lovely lady warriors, and now she is gone. Not to worry, though. I hear she's getting a prequel spinoff. Yay.

•The new Hulk is kinda weird. And I am bothered by it. Maybe it's because he speaks straight now? I don't know. I must have gotten so used to "Hulk smash" that any complete sentence, no matter how short, will sound so out of character. Or maybe it's because he just looks so damn like Mark Ruffalo. I really don't know. I am still bothered by it.

•Marvel went for misdirection in the Captain Marvel film by teasing that Captain Marvel can whoop Thanos's ass. Actually, that's not entirely accurate. Captain Marvel can hold her own against Thanos, sure. But to say that she can whoop Thanos's ass implies Thanos hardly putting up a fight, which wasn't the case at all. No one single hero can beat Thanos in a one-on-one fight. It takes teamwork, strategy, strength, and a whole lot of luck.

•Regarding Captain Marvel's hair, my question is this: is she or is she not a lesbian? Yeah, I know, you can't judge a person by his or her haircut, but this is cinema, ladies and gentlemen, a visual medium. The most effective way to depict a tomboy is to show her with boy's clothes, or really short hair. It's that or showing her and her lover in the scissors position, so yeah.

•Good job, Marvel, for bringing back even the minor characters from the previous films. That's a big feat, considering Natalie Portman didn't want anything to do with it anymore. Well, Natalie Portman didn't return for Endgame; they used old footage from the Thor movies. But almost everyone came back, even Rene Russo as Thor's mom, Benedict Wong, Evangeline Lilly, and a lot more. A whole lot more.

Two of you are going to die in this film.



Avengers: Endgame. USA. 2019.



Original rating: 8.6/10
Shout-out to the great time travel movies: +0.1
Stan Lee cameo: +0.1
Ant-Man's comic book helmet: +0.1
Robert Downey, Jr.'s last Marvel film: -0.1
Final rating: 8.8/10
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