Movie review: Rampage

Movie reviews

Hello!

And welcome to a review of another Dwayne Johnson movie. I swear his filmography is becoming a whole separate genre of cinema. This is Rampage.

IMDb summary: When three different animals become infected with a dangerous pathogen, a primatologist and a geneticist team up to stop them from destroying Chicago.

 

Writing

Rampage was written by Ryan Engle (writer of The Commuter), Carlton Cuse (Lost’s showrunner, writer of San Andreas), Ryan J. Condal (writer of Hercules), and Adam Sztykiel (a comedy writer). Quite a few previous connections to Dwayne Johnson on the part of the writing staff. This makes my introductory point sound even more truthful.

Rampage’s script is a very loose adaptation of a video game of the same name but it feels like any generic monster movie. It has some monster v. monster fights that both Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island had (and Godzilla v. Kong will definitely have) and a lot of bloodless destruction (the same amount as another very recent monster movie Pacific Rim: Uprising had). Rampage also features a brief moment of Johnson having fun in a jungle-like environment, reminding the viewer of Jumanji. His character, undoubtfully, has a family to care for but this time around it’s an animal family cause human families are just so 2015 (and so San Andreas). The film’s story also has a genetic engineering plotline, like Jurassic World. In addition to all these moments and details from other pictures, Rampage also has quite a few laughable and cheesy moments that are either incredibly far-fetched or cringe-y. The dialogue isn’t really great either and some of those one-liners and jokes fall so so flat in the movie.  Well, at least it doesn’t have a plug for a franchise at the end, like the other video game movie of 2018 – Tomb Raider.

While this is quite a harsh critique on my part, I still would not like to say that Rampage is a bad movie. It knows what it is (for the most part) and is entertaining (for the most part). Still, it is also very familiar and forgettable.

Directing

Brad Peyton, the director of San Andreas, directed Rampage and I swear these two movies have to be connected somehow. Same writer, same director, same star?! Anyways, the film’s direction was fine. The story was visualized on screen clearly and cohesively. The pacing was okay too. The action was quite enjoyable as well, though, by the end of the third act, I did sort of check out from the movie. The CGI was also fine for the most part, but some wider shots did look pretty fake.

Acting

Rampage’s cast consisted of Dwayne Johnson (Baywatch, FF8, Moana, Central Intelligence + all other movies of his that I’ve already linked to in this review) and some B-listers. Johnson was fine in the action hero type of a typical role, though, I had a hard time buying the fact that one of the most charismatic people on the planet could play a character who can’t connect/communicate with people.

On the supporting front, the movie features a lot of B-listers and even the most well known of them cannot really be seen as big move stars. They all do a good or serviceable job in the film. Naomie Harris is probably the biggest star out of the supporting cast due to her involvement with Moonlight. However, on the mainstream front, while she does have 007 franchise, she is only like a 3rd female lead in those films (behind M/Judi Dench and a revolving door of Bond girls/love interests). Malin Åkerman also stars the film – I don’t think I saw her in a movie since 2012’s Rock of AgesJeffrey Dean Morgan is big on TV with The Walking Dead but isn’t really a movie star either. Joe Manganiello has a cameo-sized role in this film too and he is Deathstroke but nobody really knows when he will get a chance to play that character, as DCEU’s future is so unclear. Jake Lacy also has a role here and, looking through his IMDb, I can notice quite a few films of his that I’ve seen, like Carol and Their Finest. The problem is that I don’t remember him in them.

In short, Rampage is a perfectly serviceable, forgivable, and forgettable action/video game movie. The video game curse is back in full force if you thought that Tomb Raider lifted it at least a bit.

Rate: 2.8/5

Trailer: Rampage trailer 

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Movie review: Assasin’s Creed

Movie reviews

Hello!

Notoriously, the video game movies have always been pretty bad. Everybody hoped that this cycle would be broken with this summer’s Warcraft but the majority of people and the critics hated it (I and the Chinese audiences actually liked it a lot). Now, all hopes have been directed towards Assasin’s Creed but it has also been getting some pretty nasty reviews. Similarly to Warcraft, I knew nothing of the mythology of the game before going to see the film. I vaguely remember reading Assasin’s Creed comic, which I got during the free comic book day, but that’s about it when it comes to my knowledge on the subject.

Nevertheless, I was still looking forward to the movie because of its cast and because its blend of the future and the past interested and intrigued me. I used to think that history and modernity were two incompatible concepts, however, I just binged Westworld over Christmas and absolutely loved it, so I thought that maybe Assasin’s Creed could further extend my love for this new concept of fusion. Sadly, while I did like the acting and the atmospheric setting of the film (two things that I was looking forward to), other components of the movie left me pretty disappointed.

IMDb summary: When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society.

Writing

The film’s script was written by Michael Lesslie (Macbeth), Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (Exodus, Allegiant, 2015’s Transporter). Their track record has not been great and their quality of work really showed in Assasin’s Creed. Let’s mention the things that I liked before going into the negatives. So, I quite liked the mythological ideas of the film – the fact that blood is our main relation to the past and to our ancestry. However, I didn’t think that these ideas were conveyed clearly or interestingly in the film: all the expositional dialogue felt clunky, hard to understand, and, frankly, quite boring. The movie’s commentary on the modern world was clearly wrong too: freedom and free-will are now more important than ever rather than being easily surrendered.

The writing for the characters wasn’t great either. They didn’t receive enough development and the choices that were made for and by the characters were super weird. Cotillard’s character had such an unclear story, her decisions opposed one other from scene to scene. In fact, her whole plotline seemed quite stupid. The cliche artifact didn’t help the story much either. The motivation for the actions of the other assassins was not clear too. Lastly, the ending was unsatisfying – they were hoping for a sequel, which they are not going to get. Why would they not worry about a sequel and make a good stand-alone film for once?

Directing

Macbeth’s director Justin Kurzel helmed Assasin’s Creed and left me kinda baffled. I expected more from a Palme d’Or nominated director. To begin with, the whole jumping around from the past to the present while in the Animus was unnecessary and uneven. In addition, I felt that the majority of the movie’s scenes were cut short. The confused, all-but-the-kitchen-sink camera work, which included everything from the long tracking shots to the first person’s POVs, wasn’t great either. The shaky cam was also not pleasant – the filmmakers should just stop with the shaky action – it has already stopped working for the Bourne series and it originated this technique. Nevertheless, let’s end on a positive note: even though they were unbelieavble, the parkours and the roof jumps did look cool and were entertaining.

Acting

The cast did a pretty good job with the awful material that they have been given. Michael Fassbender (X-Men, Steve Jobs) was great in the lead but his producing input on the movie did not help it. Marion Cotillard (Allied), Jeremy Irons (BvS), Brendan Gleeson (In The Heart of The Sea), and Charlotte Rampling  (45 years) were okay too, although I was quite surprised to see Rampling getting work in a big blockbuster after her last year’s comments on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. Ariane Labed (The Lobster) played probably the most interesting character with a lot of potential that wasn’t tapped into. 

Briefly: Assasin’s Creed wasted a great premise on a cliche story. Throw in some faulty directing and good acting into the mix and you have another forgettable video game movie. I only recommend it to super fans of the game or Fassbender.

Rate: 2.5/5

Trailer: Assasin’s Creed trailer

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Ed Sheeran concert| Vilnius Siemens Arena, Lithuania| February 15th, 2015

Music

Hi!

I feel like I am starting all of my blog posts with an apology. Yes, I said I would blog daily and failed again. Yes, I’m sorry. Yes, I will try to fix my time management issues and will post more. Someday. Anyway, let’s move on, shall we?

So, last Sunday (February 15th), I traveled to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, once again to attend another concert! This time I went to Ed Sheeran’s acoustic performance! The only acoustic show I have ever been to before this one was Lana Del Rey’s concert a few years ago. I had a great time back then and even better time now!

A couple of hours before the arena was due to open its doors, there had already been a massive line of people! I came at around 5 pm., the doors opened at 6.30 pm and the concert started at about 7.30 pm. I usually stand much closer to the stage than at Ed’s concert. I guess he has bigger fans than me;) although, I still stood in line for almost 2 hours, then for 2 hours inside the venue and for almost 3 hours during the live performance. Best workout ever.

But back to the concert: firstly, Ryan Keen took to the stage to open the show. His songs were really nice and interested me to get to know more about him. Ryan communicated with the crowd nicely too. I especially liked his last song, the cover of Bruno Mars’s Uptown Funk (I have a personal connection to this song because it brings warm memories of my senior prom). Video of the performance.

At around 9pm Ed Sheeran started his set-list. I don’t know how can he sound better live than when recorded.! Ed sang both his older hits from + and newest songs from X. He also did Stevie Wonder’s and Iggy Azalea’s covers. Talk about versatility!
Probably my favorite song of his is Drunk (video of the performance). But I also love Sing, I See Fire (I also love The Hobbit series and that song was featured in the movie), One, and The Lego House (video).

I was quite sad that he didn’t perform All of the Stars from TFIOS. Nonetheless, I had a superb time and would definitely like to attend his concert one more time in the future.

Of course, I bought a poster to commemorate this event on my bedroom walls. Picture of it bellow:

IMG_3658Next concert I am thinking about attending is Swedish singer’s and 2012 Eurovision winner’s Loreen concert in my hometown during the month of April. Until next time. Bye!

P.S. Posts about my other concert experiences: Kylie Minogue| OneRepublic| Enrique Iglesias

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OneRepublic Native Tour 2014 in Lithuania, Vilnius

Music

Hi!

Last Friday, I went to Kylie Minogue concert (read about it here) and just 3 days later, I went to another concert. On November 3rd, I traveled to Vilnius, spent a few hours in line to enter the arena as early as possible and then enjoyed an amazing concert which I will never forget. A few of my clasmates also attended the show and we were obssesing about it this whole week.

After 3 brief hours of waiting in line and then in the middle of the arena (I was standing really close to the scene and didn’t want to lose my spot), the event finally started. A Lithuanian electronic music duo called Electronic I was the opening act for the show. They sang 5 of their songs and one of them was actually a hit in my country a few months back, so the whole audience was singing along to that song.

Then followed half an hour of preparation for the main event and finally, at 9 pm OneRepublic took the stage. They started the concert with the song Light It Up, performing it under the white sheet. Then the sheet dropped down and we could see the band in action. Hit songs like Secrets, All the Right Moves, Counting Stars followed. The slower songs, for example, To Late To Apologize, Come Home , Good Life were performed sitting down in the middle of the arena on a separate platform. New songs form the album NATIVE like Think About Us Anymore, Feel Again, I Lived, Something I Need were also performed. The showed was closed with Love Runs Out and If I Lose Myself.

The band was exceeding energy to the audience and the audience gave the same amount of energy back to the band: all of us were singing our hearts out and dancing in the way that out feet were burning. The lead singer of the band Ryan Tedder said a few words in my native language and the crowd went wild, he also thanked us for coming and praised us, saying that we were one of the best crowds he ever saw.

While playing the guitar, Ryan also threw a couple of guitar picks into the audience and I caught one of them! That was one of the happiest moments for me because if I get into some fandom, I get in hard and deep.

After the concert, I bought a poster to commemorate this event on my room’s walls as I always do. Bellow you will find a bunch of photos which I have taken myself and also a few links to my YouTube Channel where you can a find 2 videos from the show. Have a great weekend!

Come Home live Think About Us Anymore live

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MTV Video Music Awards 2014

Music

A while ago, I did a short review of MTV Movie Awards and decided to do the same for VMAS 2014. I was planning to do review of Teen Choice Awards 2014 but there was just too much drama surrounding TCAs and Team Internet and I thought that my blog post would just turn into an angry rant.

I wasn’t amazed by this award show, I don’t say it was bad but I still had a lot of problems with it. First of all, there was nothing new – they are saying that they will shock us but it is the same show every year. Might be that I have seen just too many shows like this and I am not easily surprised.

Second of all, I had a huge problem with the outfits of all stars and overall image that they are creating. Man and women are putting so much on sexiness that it turns into raunchiness. Females in particular present themselves as these over sexualized beings that think that nudity equals sexiness. (Not just in performance outfits but in red carpet dresses as well) Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea are just a few of them. Even Ariana Grande, who used to be this cutesy good girl, now turned into …I don’t even know what to call her. Her red carpet look seemed very tacky and not classy at all. At least the signature pony tail is still there. However, I agree that in this way all of these stars are showing their confidence and encouraging young women to dress however they like and be proud of who they are. Nonetheless, I believe that there are other ways to do that. You don’t need to walk around almost naked to feel confident and love yourself.

Favorite performance – Taylor Swift’s first live performance of her new song –Shake it off. At first, I wasn’t a huge fan of the song but now it grew on me. I will probably be blasting it out loud half of autumn. I also liked Beyoncé’s performance because she is freakin’ Beyoncé, that why. But I wish she would put less attention to sexiness as well. Her whole new album is about that, except Pretty Hurts – that is the song with an amazing message. I loved how Jay Z brought Blue Ivy on stage and presented Beyoncé with an award – it was heartbreaking in a good way to see Beyoncé tear up on stage from joy of that moment.

Also, did you see Nicki Minaj’s wardrobe malfunction? She did not have enough time to change from that jungle outfit into black dress and had to use her hands to cover herself. I wish she would have put that black dress on properly because I wanted to see it whole– it looked kinda nice to me, sexy but not too much.

I also like to mention that I love that they are including Team Internet more and more. Some youtubers are working on the red carpet (Tyler Oakley and Ingrid Nelson) and others are also attending.

Miley Cyrus also did a good job with her acceptance speech. Huge difference since last year’s VMAs.

Best dressed:

Females: I liked the looks of Becky G, Holland Roden and Kesha – stylish but not too revealing.

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Males: I liked the style of Greg Sulkin (can’t wait for Faking It to be back) and my queen Tyler Oakley.

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Also – did you see Katy Perry’s nod to the past? It was super fun to see her embracing the denim

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I am sorry that this post is so long, I guessed I had a lot to say. Have a great last week of summer wherever you are!