[Review] Star Trek: Beyond

Star Trek Beyond: Jaylah

Star Trek: Beyond poster featuring character Jaylah

TL;DR 9.5/10
Summary: Great movie with all the right touches of flash and subtlety

Most people (including me) anticipated Star Trek: Beyond (aka “ST:B”) to be “Fast and Furious in space!” After all, the director was one Justin Lin, who is known for being the director of the FnF franchise. The trailers released before the movie didn’t help either.

As it turns out, the movie was fast AND furious. But there’s very little racing. What we see instead, is a surprisingly good mix of suspense, action, and deft, human drama. It makes the movie all the more believable and human.

The plot is relatively simple: In its third year of its 5-year mission, the USS Enterprise has been sent to assist a science mission gone wrong in an uncharted region of space. They are soon ambushed for two reasons; an artefact they were carrying unknowingly and to lure Yorktown, a new Federation base, into lowering its guard.

SPOILERS ARE HERE.

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[Review] X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men Apocalypse Poster from Imgur
X-Men Apocalypse Poster from Imgur

TL;DR: 7/10, good summer and popcorn movie, but a little congested and underdeveloped in quite a few parts.

I’m not sure what my expectations were when I saw X-Men, but it was satiated by the time I walked out of the cinema. For one, it lead very nicely into the beginning of the first X-Men movie shot oh so many years ago. For another, it’s a fairly good end to the First Class series, which I’ve liked.

THAT SAID, it also left me hungry for me and slightly disappointed in the way the story was handled. No spoilers, but character development was quite lacking for a few of them, and there’s not enough fear to go around. It feels like it should have been a TV series instead of a movie; too much to do, not enough time to do it.

If you grew up watching the animated TV series, there will be plenty here to make you grin. There’s also a few nods and in-jokes, but overall, it’s not a must-see to me. If it had come out before Civil War, I’d have been wowed, but after CW the bar for ensemble superhero movies is set so high, I wish all the movies coming out later good luck.

Damnit now I’m worried about Doctor Strange!

[Quickie] Jungle Book 2016

Look for the~ Bare necessities~
The simple bare necessities~
Forget about your worries and your strife~

TL;DR: 9.5/10, would watch again, completely enjoyed it, might be worth a watch in 3D.

As you can tell, I really liked the new Jungle Book. It was a fun romp, and one that I would be glad to watch again. I’m impressed by just how many arcs they managed to cover in the movie, from Mowgli’s ousting to Kaa to Baloo and then to King Louie. It was a good childhood romp, and the fact that Mom enjoyed it too was a real bonus.

It is a bit darker and grittier than the original though, so I’d recommend this for kids aged 7 and up. Neel Sethi, as Mowgli, is quite the right mix of bratty and innocence. As for the rest of the cast, I’ll admit that Lupita’s Raksha’s was the one that stood out the most to me. The right mix of motherly care and firmness. And now, bed.

[Quickie Review] Captain America: Civil War


TL;DR: 9/10, completely enjoyed, would watch again.

Captain America: Civil War was surprisingly deeper and mature than I thought it would be. There’s far defter and subtler storytelling going on in this movie compared to Avengers: Age of Ultron. Some say that it’s Avengers 2.5, which I tend to agree with.

That said, here’s the non-spoilery impressions I had:

  • OMG Peter Parker so adorable
  • OMG they really behaved like fans or like meeting their celebs I like how normal they are in comparison to everyone else
  • Ho shit people of colour are actually speaking up, have their own opinions and are treated as more than props!
  • DAMNIT VISION STOP BEING ADORKABLE
  • I want to hug Wanda
  • JIE JIE NATALIE!
  • Papa-wannabe Single Dad Tony Stark
  • Kor Kor (no longer senpai, but elder brother instead) Steve
  • McGuffin Bucky
  • Damn those fight scenes my eyes
  • Second watch much suggested
  • I don’t have an overload compared to Avengers 2
  • Tone is slightly darker than what I’ve come to expect (Bear says it’s more realistic)

I now have a tiny crush on the T’Challa’s bodyguard because damn SHE HAD PRESENCE. And unlike previous Marvel movies, I did not come out completely overwhelmed by the visual spectacle. It’s surprisingly refreshing, and there’s a lot more nuance in this than I thought.

That said, I do have one thing to say about Chadwick Boseman: his face doesn’t match his voice. Or the other way around. He has this really deep and serious voice that is full of maturity and seniority. He has depth I would say, in a more substantial way than Robert Downey Jr or Chris Evans, but his actions and his character feels very much like a yuppie. It’s disconcerting (but in a way that plays out! Read spoilers below).

So yes, this is where the spoilers begin. Under the cut.

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Ok, we should be good to go here.

First off, one of the things that impressed me the most was the nod to the Dora Milaje (I assume that was who she was?). T’Challa had a female bodyguard with him in one scene, and as they walked to the car, I couldn’t help but be impressed by her grace and on-screen presence. There was also the fact that she more or less told Black Widow to move or be moved; it was a threat that had both the substance to back it up and the nod from one equal to another.

Ok, about the movie itself. As I mentioned earlier, this movie had a FAR defter and softer touch to its storytelling compared to Avengers 2. Not that it was bad (I loved it here!) but Cap A 3 did not hit me over the head with the details. It’s not just in the dialogue; it’s in their actions and it carries through beyond the initial scene where we see it, so it’s more realistic in that aspect.

Case in point: T’Challa. When you first meet him, he comes across as this very urbane, prep-school kid who’s being trained to take over the throne. When he loses his father he goes into a quiet fury, but it lacks the usual sizzling/brooding I’ve come to expect from most characters who go out seeking vengeance. T’Challa is willing to wait for his vengeance, and when he goes after it, it’s done with very calm, methodical passion. However, you can also tell that he’s immature because like what Rogers and Wilson realise, Bucky is being framed. Here’s a man who’s trying to hide who then shows up attacking the UN. Someone as smart as T’Challa doesn’t see it, but allows his emotions to cloud his judgement. It’s very human, and so very realistic. It also shows how far he needs to go to be the man his father is.

Vision and Wanda’s relationship is also quite tantalising. She’s the only one who calls him Vis, I think, and there’s this really friendly air about them that’s hard to put into words. They’re linked from when Wanda was experimented on using the Mind Gem, and so I think Vision feels a certain kinship and protectiveness over her. And while Wanda doesn’t hesitate to use her powers against him, there’s always hesitation when she does. I wanna see a kiss. :p

Actually, Wanda is the little sister everyone dotes on. From the opening scene when Rogers and Natasha give her a lesson in espionage, I get the sense that they genuinely care for her, and want to keep her from harm. Because of who they are, it’s not possible, and so they try to protect her in their own way. Rogers and Natasha do it by teaching her how to spy; Vision tries to be her friend, Hawkeye is literally the big brother figure, and Tony… well Tony tried to lock her up for her own safety.

Which she doesn’t take too kindly of, but I do love that scene when Tony realises they put Wanda in a cell on the Raft and he realises his mistake. That was a powerful moment, and just speaks of what Wanda is to them.

And now let’s talk about how Tony really needs to get professional help.

I’m not sure if anyone has noticed it, but Tony seems to suffer from some sort of mania. In Iron Man 3, his PTSD drove his creation of the multiple Iron Man suits and almost the destruction of the country. In Avengers 2 he creates a super-AI that almost destroys the world. In Captain America 3, his choices and desire to protect lead to him destroying the very thing he tried to protect. And while he admits he has trauma he refuses to acknowledge, he doesn’t seek help for it. He simply tries to “fix himself” instead of letting someone else do it.

Of all the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far, Tony Stark appears to be the one who is regressing the most, and that’s really sad. Everyone else is growing and improving (from Wanda’s control to Vision’s wisdom to Natasha’s growing honesty, what little we see of to Rhodes and Wilson’s characters) but Tony? He’s still stuck from Avengers 1, when the Chitauri almost destroyed New York.

But that’s enough about Tony Stark. I want to end this with a rave about how I squeeed about Ant Man behaving like a guy meeting celebrities and then there’s Peter Parker. The fight with Falcon and the Winter Soldier was the BEST. I loved how it went and how he chatted so much and how he revealed all his hopes and dreams for his “audition.” Also LOL mention of Star Wars, Hoth and the AT-Walker.

Overall, I’d give the movie a 9/10. I would watch it again, and I really enjoyed myself.

This quick review turned out to be not so quick after all.

[Review] MyScript Stylus (Beta)

Price: FREE!
Platform: Android and iOS
Rating: 3.5 of 5

As you can tell from the video, the MyScript Stylus app is quite impressive. It was able to read my writing most of the time and was very responsive. I really enjoyed using this app with my current stylus, but I don’t think it’s quite ready yet to lose the Beta tag.

It has a few bugs that needs to be ironed out, such as a tendency to read letters as numbers and vice versa. The cursor tends to jump around here and there (a reviewer has mentioned this on the Play Store, so I’m fairly confident it’s not just me) and somewhat related, but I find myself pressing on the most recent apps menu and triggering them by accident which breaks the flow of thought.

Something I would like to see is either the speed of jumping to the next empty word being quicker or the writing space being expanded to perhaps two lines or higher up the screen if that’s possible. I tend to run out of space, as you can tell.

That said though, for the grand old price of FREE (minus your data download costs) this app is really impressive. CNet shows it’s been in beta for at least 3 years, so we’ll see how it improves. Last update was in September 2015, so I have confident that they will be making improvements to the app in the months to come.*

And in case you were wondering, yes, the blog portion of this review was written on a traditional PC and not on the smaller screen.