Spider-Man: No Way Home

I suppose the first movie I’ve seen in the cinema since 2020 deserves a blog post!

Picking up at the end of Spider-Man: Far from Home, No Way Home begins with Peter Parker finds his life instantly thrown into chaos when his secret identity is revealed to the world. Upset that even Ned and MJ have been affected by this, Peter goes to Dr. Strange to beg his help in turning back time to fix it all. Strange offers him the option of forgetfulness instead, but the spell gets messed up by Peter’s adding exceptions to the forgetfulness and Strange has to contain the spell instead of unleashing it. Unfortunately, he didn’t contain it in time and the spell pulled in some rather unwelcome visitors from parallel universes…

Short opinion: I enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would! Didn’t like the ending and I still don’t love Spider-Man as a character, but it is a solid movie overall.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings introduces a new member to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) who is forced to face his past when his father, Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), attempts to retrieve pendants given to Shang-Chi and his sister, Xialing, by their mother long ago.

It was a solid movie overall, significantly elevated by the casting of Tony Leung as the antagonist.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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Luca

Well. I’ve ignored this blog far too long!

But I feel like it’s very difficult to blog about life when I probably shouldn’t be talking about work stuff on a public platform, and I just haven’t been in the mood to write reviews. I suppose it’s a question of why maintain this blog at all still? For myself? If it’s just for me then I don’t need to make it public and I can just turn all the posts private. If it’s for others… Well, who reads this blog now? Haha

On to Luca!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Summary from Wikipedia: Set on the Italian Riviera, the film centers on Luca Paguro, a young sea monster boy with the ability to assume human form while on land, who explores the town of Portorosso with his new best friend, Alberto Scorfano, experiencing a life-changing summer adventure.

The Good

  • The look of the movie. It’s a very visually charming movie. Bright summery colours and softly rounded designs infuse a great deal of warmth into every scene and it’s lovely to look at.
  • The easygoing tone and story. It’s a relaxing movie. Nothing too grim or depressing, very much a straightforward coming-of-age and friendship story.
  • The 1950s/60s feel to it is very appealing to me. Some of the older Italian pop songs inserted into it were fun, and more so because I have a preference for the pop music of that era. The main soundtrack itself (music by Dan Romer) was not bad either.
  • Luca’s weird uncle from “the Deep” was hilarious in his one scene.
  • The technique displayed is amazing as always. Pixar doesn’t fail to deliver in technical execution, even when the story might be weaker (e.g. The Good Dinosaur). Animation, textures, lighting, etc. All fantastic.

The Not-quite-as-good

  • The resolution with regards to Luca’s parents coming to lose their fear of the land was a little rushed. However, if they had spent more time on this, it would have distracted from the main story so I can understand why his parents weren’t given a more fleshed-out storyline.
  • The fantasy/dream sequences were a little too long for my liking. Fun to watch in the moment, but slightly draggy.

There is nothing terrible about this movie, although I wouldn’t put it at the top of Pixar’s filmography. I think it sits somewhere in the middle, in the upper half of Pixar films. A simple, pleasant movie that’s easy to watch and leaves you with warm feelings, though it’s not extremely memorable.

(Wow, this turned out shorter than I thought it would.)

Enola Holmes

Enola, younger sister of Mycroft and Sherlock, has been raised by their mother to be a rather unconventional sort of girl. When her mother mysteriously disappears from home, Mycroft’s wish to send Enola to a finishing school prompts her to flee home and find her mother.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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Mulan (2020)

Disney’s live-action remake of their 1998 original was not much better than all their other live-action remakes. A little better than or on par with Beauty & the Beast, but not better than Aladdin. (Just realised I haven’t reviewed Aladdin! I should get around to that.) I haven’t seen The Lion King remake but I bet this is way better than that one. So it has some things going for it.

So far, none of them have surpassed their originals.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I have a rather long list of complaints but first, a disclaimer of sorts: My dissatisfaction with this live-action remake can be attributed in part to my great fondness for their originals. While I attempt to keep some objectivity when watching these, I find that it’s very difficult to not compare them when the originals are vividly stuck in my mind.

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The Gentlemen

Mickey Pearson, marijuana magnate, is looking to sell off his business and retire. But it’s not that straightforward in the criminal world and thus begins a web of favours called in and betrayals avenged…

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Note: I am not very familiar with Guy Ritchie’s body of work apart from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (which I really enjoyed), Sherlock Holmes (2009 and 2011, both of which I thought were just ok), and Aladdin (also just ok).

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Little Women (2019)

Do I really need to summarise this? haha

Greta Gerwig’s take on Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women (and Good Wives) has gotten a lot of good press and some Oscar hype, and it did look nice in the trailer. But I don’t think I was nearly as impressed as many of the professional critics were.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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Hello World (2019)

Hello World is the story of high school boy, Katagaki Naomi, who lives in Kyoto in 2027. Naomi’s future self appears and reveals to him that he’s actually little more than a digital record of the real Katagaki Naomi. Future Naomi has developed an avatar self to go into the recorded past and help teenage Naomi save his soon-to-be girlfriend, Ruri.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

This is going to be rather short as I find I don’t have much to say about it.

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The Garden of Evening Mists

The Garden of Evening Mists is based on a book of the same name by Tan Twan Eng. Jumping back and forth between “present day” 1980s, the 1950s (where the primary story takes place) and the 1940s, it tells the story of Yun Ling, the sole survivor of a Japanese war camp called the Golden Lily. Post-war, Yun Ling seeks out former Japanese Imperial gardener Nakamura Aritomo and asks for his help in building a Japanese garden to fulfil her dead sister’s wish.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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