Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My Opinion: Vilsen (2016)

Hello and welcome to another edition of My Opinions. Today we will be reviewing the Swedish independent film, Vilsen, aka Ave Mater.

Vilsen is directed by Rasmus Tirzitis, who is known for the film, STAR WARS: THREADS OF DESTINY, a non-profit independent film that he had directed, but in English. Vilsen is a direct to digital/DVD release that is making some of the film festivals as we speak, and as of this review, if I'm not mistaken, is only available in Sweden and possibly some other countries close to it. I happen to be a very good friend of Director Tirzitis and got to own a copy for a good price with English subtitles. Now, taken into consideration of our friendship, I will try not to be biased in my review. So let's break it down shall we?

Story: The story starts out simple, but gets complicated as the film goes. But here's the beginning. What starts out as a simple murder case begins to turn into something more, something spooky, when elements of the who and why begin to surface. Soon, the main cop character, Goran, finds himself trying to find answers along with a woman who has ties to the criminal organization that is committing the murders.

My thoughts on the story are pretty straight forward. It's interesting, because this movie starts out as a simple suspense thriller, with a cop, a killer, and his or her victims. But it becomes clear that there is more to it and suddenly there's something you didn't expect in something of this genre, a supernatural element. The story gets good, and the thrills are quite nice to behold.

Characters/Acting: I'm not familiar with Swedish actors, but I did see at least 3 actors reappearing from Threads of Destiny. It seems the actors playing 'Soran Darr' and 'Lord Siege' from that film, cannot help but once again play enemies in this film as well, though they never meet. It was nice however seeing them speak their fluent Swedish. Carl, who plays Soran in ToD, spook a bit wooden, in that film, but feels more at ease here with his native tongue. The same can't be said for Andreas, who spoke great English in ToD, and speaks just as fluently obviously in Vilsen. All the actors do a great job of their respective roles and nothing really drew me out of the film in the acting department. The actress who plays Siri was particularly attractive, talented to boot. Imagine my shock when I found out she too was from Threads of Destiny. Rasmus is like Quentin Tarantino or Christopher Nolan, using repeat actors.

The Action: The action is slow, not very quick in execution, but that's okay. It was still rather entertaining and at last for the most part you can see everything that's going on. Not a bad thing where everything is quick cuts these days in Hollywood productions. There's a few action sequences, such as fights, and some gun play, but nothing too big. There's some gore. They're not afraid to show you the killer doing his deed. So expect blood.

The Twists: Not gonna spoil anything obviously, but there were at least a few twists and I didn't really see any of them coming. One, I saw, but not till it was almost literally on top of you.

Overall: This was a pretty damn good thriller. Definitely worth the price of admission, which to be fair, for me, was free. But I wasn't intending on buying a retail copy once available in the USA. It was entertaining and had good twists, characters, and story. One thing I was kind of wanting to see in the climax actually happens, but again, no spoilers there.

I give Vilsen/Ave Mater: 7/10

If you can, definitely check it out. It's worth it.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Opinion: Ghostbusters (2016)

Warning: These are my opinions and are not to be considered fact. This is just how I feel about the film being talked about.

With that said...

The first post I made on this site was an 'Opinions' post about the first Ghostbusters (2016) trailer. If I recall, I liked that trailer and was excited about the concept of a new Ghostbusters movie. So naturally it made sense that I was going to watch the new film and more than likely do a 'My Opinion' post about it. Well here it is. Ghostbusters (2016) is out in theaters and I have gone to see it in my theater's GTX screen.

As you may recall, from the get-go there has been a very negative vibe hanging over Ghostbusters, and that since this was a reboot, people were not very hopeful of it being anything but trash. And the worst part is that if you were negative, you were probably branded a Sexist or something else. If you were positive, well I'm not sure entirely what happened. But there was a big thing going on with Ghostbusters and the truth is, I was largely ignoring it all. I had my views and those views were that I was going to probably enjoy this movie. Especially after the trailers starting hitting. The first trailer went on to be the most hated trailer on Youtube, and future trailers didn't get much better. But I soaked up each new bit of footage and just couldn't wait until it came out. I even went so far as to buy not only the regular novelization of the movie, but the Junior Novelization simply cause they came out almost a month or so before the movie. I needed a Ghostbusters fix and this was it.

So did it meet my expectations?

Trailers have been known to be misleading. True, they are our first glimpses into the movie we are going to invest our hard earned money into, and if we don't like what we see, then clearly the movie is not for us. But trailers don't always work the way they're supposed to and they give us a false sense of dread...or to be fair, in some cases, a false sense of pleasure.

But I thought that each trailer given for Ghostbusters was a fun filled ride waiting to happen. And quite frankly, I was expecting nothing more than just that. A fun filled ride at the movies with some laughs. Mind you, I didn't think the jokes were very funny in the movie. But again, to be fair, I never thought the originals were all that funny either. What I enjoyed about the movies was the adventure and the characters were were going on that adventure with. And I was ready and willing to go on a new adventure with these new Ghostbusters.

So does it succeed? YEAH. From the beginning of the movie, I was invested in the adventure. After that opening tease ended and the Ghostbusters theme hits, I knew I was in for a Ghostbusters movie. And it held me there, in my seat, for nearly 1 hour and 40 or so minutes. And the thing about it? It was actually funny. Yes, compared to the trailers, the actual movie was funny, and even in spots I didn't think I would laugh. 'The Power of Patty' actually compelled me to chuckle a bit where I thought that moment was lame in the trailer.

The characters were pretty darn good. I liked Erin. I liked going with her on her adventure. I even liked Abby. Yes, I liked Melissa McCarthy. I especially liked Holtzzman and yes, I liked Patty. I liked all 4 Ghostbusters, and to be that's a plus. It has to be cause those are the characters we're following throughout the movie. The characters felt fresh and different from Venkman, Stanz, Spengler, and Zedimore. I enjoyed those characters, but I also enjoyed these new characters.

The action was pretty interesting too. It felt more active with these characters than they did with the originals, but that's probably because of the effects used here. They're able to do more with these sequences than they were in Ghostbusters (84) and Ghostbusters II. But I think that's a good thing. It allowed it to be different than the originals.

The ghosts themselves were mostly different, though the subway ghost had a similar theme to the Scapelli Brothers from GB2, in which it was clearly an electrocuted inmate from a prison. And there was Slimer and yes, a cameo from Stay Puft. But overall they were mostly fresh and different.

And on that note, it should be mentioned that the Effects were pretty good. They were more brightly colored, but I still felt like they belonged in a Ghostbusters film. A modern Ghostbusters film. It's interesting to compare them to the originals because the originals were not as bright as the new ones were, but they still had that style that I think could have fit in here as well. Likewise, dull down the ghosts from this new film, and I feel that, say, the Aldridge ghost could have fit into one of the old films.

The music was pretty solid. I like a good score and it was nice listening to it in this film. And the few songs that were featured in the song weren't bad either. Probably nothing to write home about, compared to the original soundtracks of the old films, but still worth listening to in the film. But you may feel differently. I didn't mind them. I know the Fall Out Boy song got a lot of hate but I didn't mind it where it was placed.

Overall I'm gonna have to say I enjoyed this film as much as I enjoyed the originals. Did I expect it to be good? Yeah, kinda, but I'm open minded. I wanted this film to be good because to me, Ghostbusters is and always was, a fun adventure film. And on that note, this film delivered in spades. Is it great? I think so. You may not. And that's your opinion. This was mine.

I rate Ghostbustes (2016) a 8/10.

And I hope we get at least 1 sequel.

Monday, May 30, 2016

My Opinions: X-Men Apocalypse & Alice Through The Looking Glass

Hello there. I'm making this post a double feature because that's how I saw these next two movies, as a double feature on Saturday evening. I'll give a bit of a background between me and these franchises, then get into my opinions on them.


First up is X-Men Apocalypse. I'm a long time fan of the X-Men franchise. I've been a fan of the films since the first movie back in the early 2000's. I've seen all of them and have overall enjoyed all of them, even the weaker films X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I even saw Deadpool earlier this year and enjoyed that film.

I was interested in this film because this film features new versions of some of the classic characters featured in the earlier films, like Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Storm. It also has returning cast from X-Men First Class and Days of Future Past.

First and foremost let's make it clear that this is a sequel to Days of Future Past and continues on from the altered history that it started. Professor Charles Xavier has begun recruiting his new students and has already come across some of our classic characters and inducted them into the school. But not all is well and events take place that set the ball rolling for a crisis that may not be so easily dealt with.

And now...My Opinion:

The movie is pretty entertaining. The opening, like Days of Future Past, takes the theme and opening sequence similar to X2: X-Men United. The movie itself is very much a re-introduction to characters like Jean Grey, Storm, and Cyclops. It also re-introduces characters like Angel, Nightcrawler, and even another, that I will not spoil here in case you weren't aware of the presence. I liked these re-introductions because in the original trilogy, they're kinda already there for the most part and established in their world. Here there's more of an origin to them.

The story, I thought, was pretty interesting. This is basically the payoff to a trilogy of getting to know some of the characters, while introducing a brand new set of characters to hopefully carry on the series. As I said, a part of the story feels like an origin story meant to re-introduce us to characters we've already known. These aren't the same people we've come to know in the original 3 X-Men. They're much younger and more innocent.

The action, like the characters, is very good. While you're getting to know the characters, a big part of the action coincides with the fact that they're still learning to use those powers that they've been given and you can kinda see that with the action set pieces. Mutants learning to use their powers is an interesting contrast to a mutant who has had many years to master his.

The overall effects looked fantastic, though not necessarily at their best. I almost felt like there was one moment that felt like, yeah, that was blue screened...but at the same time, it still worked. It really wasn't anything new we haven't seen before, but those still looked like they were well put together effects, from the Nightcrawler teleportations to the Cyclops eye blasts.

Overall I really liked X-Men Apocalypse and will gladly be adding it to my X-Men film collection upon release on Blu-Ray and digital.


Alice in Wonderland was, I think, a very interesting film with very bright colors and a very creative world, as created by Tim Burton. I'm afraid I did not see it in theaters, but caught it on Blu-Ray when it came out. I must say I rather enjoyed it, and thought it was a very good sequel to the Alice in Wonderland story. Because in the end, that is indeed what it is. It is a similar approach to what Steven Spielberg did with Hook, in which it is a sequel to the original story where the character has grown up and doesn't quite remember what's already transpired before. In this case it was because Alice thought it was merely a dream. Well that went well, and the movie made back a LOT of money. And naturally, a sequel was made. Alice Through the Looking Glass looked VERY interesting from the trailers, and I made it a point this time to go see it in theaters.

It's been a few years since Alice last saw the wonderful cast of characters that inhabited the wonderful world of Underland, as it was discovered to be named. But as you can imagine, things are not all that well in Underland and she is required back there to take care of matters. Turns out the Mad Hatter is...well, madder than usual, and thinks his family may still be alive. And the only one who can truly understand his trouble is, indeed, Alice. But can she help him this time?

And now...My Opinion:

Where do I begin? Let's start with....I'm a big fan of Alice in Wonderland. I enjoy the Tim Burton film greatly, and was happy when they announced Through the Looking Glass. I was wondering how they'd pull off the style of the film, considering Tim Burton didn't direct the sequel, but I think they pulled it off rather well. The first one was very vibrant with the colors and this one, at least where allowed, was as well. But this also takes more of a darker color scheme and in many ways is a bit of a darker story for it.

Where the first story is a very curious story of remembrance, this is truly a race against time...almost figuratively and literally, as Time itself is a character in this film. Alice must help do something for a friend but in order to do so, she must take time into her own hands and get the job done before...well...time, runs out.

The story is a lot more personal this time and as such there is more story to it than the first film. I didn't feel lost in it or confused, but felt it flowed rather nicely as Alice moved through events from the past to find out what she needed to know. It is here where you get to meet characters at various stages, and even get to see how some characters got to be the way they are. I thought it was very interesting.

The action, though there's not much, is rather well done. You have to firstly understand that this is not an action movie, it is a children's drama/comedy with slight action thrown in. The action in itself is mostly chase scenes, and that's all. But they're still done rather well.

The characters are very well done and the highlight is actually Time himself. He has a few good moments to shine throughout the film and doesn't feel too menacing, but at the same time, doesn't feel like a character you want to mess with either. All the other actors, like Johnny Depp and Helena Botham Carter pull their weight and get the job done.

The effects don't really look too different than the previous movie, though there are some new set pieces, like the ocean of time that I thought looked rather cool. But other than that, there's really nothing more to report on that front.

I must say that I really enjoyed Alice Through the Looking Glass and find it a rather satisfying and a VERY worthy sequel to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Will be adding it to my collection.

Friday, April 22, 2016

My Opinion: The Huntsman - Winter's War (2016)

WARNING: These are my opinions and should not be taken for anything but. Being as such this is a conversation about a movie in theaters and will feature minor spoilers. So read as you wish, but know that I will not spoil any major plot points. Shall we begin?

The funny thing about trailers is that they're your first visit to the world of the movie that you're intending on viewing. But they, in themselves, are spoilers and sometimes spoil moments that are not meant to be spoiled. I will not say much here.

This is both sequel and prequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, and I was a bit curious to how they would pull that off, and here it is. The story as a whole is the same story, it just takes place at different points in time and is not part of one cohesive whole. The beginning merely is meant to set the state for how the Huntsmen came to be and is essentially the origin story for the Ice Queen as well. It tells essentially a story told in the 'Snow White' movie, about The Huntsman and his love interest. From there it time lapses to the aftermath of 'Snow White and the Huntsman' and proceeds to continue the story. Seems Not all is well with certain things and the Huntsman is called upon to take on a task on behalf of Snow White, who is indeed at least referenced but never seen on screen. And just when you think certain things are gone, they have a tendency to return.

And now for my Opinion:

I liked the movie. I'd say it's on par with Snow White and the Huntsman but that was not particularly a great movie either. I liked both movies for what they were, and what they are is an interesting take on a mythology that we've probably seen many times before, including by studios like Disney.

The thing about 'Snow White and the Huntsman' is that it set up the world that we were seeing. The Huntsman: Winter's War gives a little more to some of that backstory while also expanding it a bit. For instance, we knew about Ravena's history and a small bit about her family. Well in Huntsman, we see the history of the Huntsman and their connection to Ravena's sister in particular.

In Snow White, we knew that The Huntsman had a lover at some point in his past. In this movie, we get to meet her. Things like this further the universe of Snow White and the Huntsman.

I thought the story was interesting. It at least kept me watching until the end and while the comedy wasn't all that funny, I didn't cringe at it either. Here you saw 4 dwarves. 2 men and 2 women.

There's not a lot of big action scenes, especially when you consider the title of the movie features 'War'. But it's not entirely boring either. I felt satisfied when the credits rolled.

The actors did a good job. I didn't feel like any of them were too terrible nor were there any standouts either, I felt. They were just kinda there in the world like they'd settled in.

Overall, I liked Snow White and the Huntsman enough to buy a copy of it, and I feel the same way here about The Huntsman: Winter's War. It's a good, not great, movie that will probably entertain you, but will probably not want you craving more.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Ghostbusters (2016) Trailer Opinions

Hello and welcome to the first post of my newly created Mike's Movie Opinions, where I will probably discuss my thoughts on movies new and old that I watch. I'll also be allowing others to guest-write their own opinions should you want to.

First up on my blog is a very controversial topic that seems to be getting a lot of hate and negativity. And that's the new trailer for the Ghostbusters reboot. It's no surprise that this is more than likely a reboot that none of the fans of the original 2 films wanted, but alas it's coming and fans are somewhat fairly upset.

One of these reasons is that this reboot features an all female team. Some may call it a gimmick, some may not. The word sexist is going around a lot it seems aimed at the negative people, with those negative people stating there's nothing sexist about it. They just don't like the direction it's taken. And in a way that's fair. It's fair not to like how they are treating your favorite franchise. One of the reasons for this is because they just don't think the actresses chosen are all that funny. Many are not fans of actresses like Melissa McCarthy. I myself am not the biggest fan of McCarthy, but after seeing Spy, I'm willing to give her a chance. But many aren't willing to do that.

There's also talk of racism and such involving the black character being loud and such. Whether that's a big criticism of the movie I'm not sure. I'm not sure how the movie ultimately plays out and the black character may indeed be a bit of a racial issue throughout the film. The only way we'll truly find that out is by watching the movie this July.

On to my opinions.


Okay let's get this out of the way. The Ghostbusters in the originals were almost all PHDs. Winston was not. For instance, Peter had doctorates in Psychology and Parapsychology. So that takes care of the opening statement that 4 scientists saved New York.

I like this trailer. It is different than the originals, but similar if that makes sense. People are even calling this a remake of the original. Second, the ghost that slimes the one woman is not a librarian, as in a article I read, it stated they were in a Museum, I think. I'd have to look up that article to clarify.

The ghosts look fantastic. Sure they look brighter and maybe a bit different than what you're used to in the original but I honestly feel like they could still fit in the original universe. That's honestly a plus to me.

I liked the use of the music. It's modern but still embracing the original theme for the movie. Whether they use this theme in the movie itself will probably stay TBD until we get an idea of the soundtrack. But again that may not necessarily mean anything because music used in the soundtrack may not be in the movie itself. Who knows.

The characters seem okay. It's only the first trailer so we don't get the full potential of the characters yet and I'm gonna hold off on criticizing any of them until I watch them fully grow throughout the movie. Especially Melissa McCarthy, to see if she indeed plays 'the same character through every movie she's in'.

The jokes aren't all that funny. I mean I didn't really laugh out loud with these jokes, but I'm gonna tell you something. I didn't particularly laugh out loud with the original 2 Ghostbuster flicks either, so take that for what you want.

I've seen this movie trailer probably 15-16 times now and I just enjoy it for what it is. And what it is, is an introduction to a new generation of Ghostbusters. Yes it's not what we wanted, but I'm going to embrace it for what it is. A chance for a new generation of fans to get their own team, while the 80's belonged to Venkman, Stanz, Spengler, and Zedimore, these new Ghostbusters are for the 2010's a d beyond.

Thank you,