Hawkeye | Trailer

  • Headwriter: Jonathan Igla
  • Director: Rhys Thomas, Bert & Bertie
  • Stars: Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Vera Farminga, Fra Fee, Tony Dalton, Zahn McClarnon, Brian d’Arcy James, Alaqua Cox

From the trailer alone it looks like the series is heavily inspired by Matt Fraction and David Aja‘s comic run on Hawkeye, which was to be expected because it was a great run. The most surprising thing about it is the Christmas setting, it probably wouldn’t have crossed my mind for Hawkeye but it works. It’s perfect for the character, who’s a family man, and allows us to see him in a different light. There’s also a cheerful, more comedic tone to the show

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Dune | Frank Herbert

Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for…

When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.

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How was it?

Dune is one of these books that keeps getting recommended by casual and avid readers alike, but the only reason why it jumped forward on my TBR list is the movie. I’ve been interested in this book for years but it never felt like the right time to pick it up, until that first trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s movie hit. I was mad because I wanted to experience this story in book form first. Usually I don’t care, books and their adaptation(s) are separate entities for me but I didn’t want any visuals for the new movie to influence my interpretation of this world. I wanted to dive in and let Herbert’s words show me this world, and you know what? He f’ing did. Despite loving the glimpses I had in the Dune‘s movie trailer I completely forgot about that a few pages into this book.

The plot is very rich and complex – I’ve read bigger books than this one that feels shallow in comparison -; the world building is amazing, it’s foreign and new with enough familiarity to what we know to never get lost in it. Dune touches on so many subjects that it could have been a mess in the hand of less experienced and/or skilled writer. Herbert also explores some many themes (geopolitics, religion, environmentalism, colonisation, family, etc.) that it makes this world he created for this book feel so real and tangible, because it kind of is. It’s a clever commentary on our society’s past, present, and – if we’re honest with ourselves – futur. The commentary applied in 1965 when this book was first published, and it’s still applies today.
Dune might be presented as a science-fiction, futuristic story set on the desert planet of Arrakis, but the political maneuvering at play here is reminiscent of many real world issues in which places are colonized or swarmed for their prized ressource that everyone wants it regardless of the effect the mining of that ressource has on the native population or the local environment.

What I’m saying might make this book sound like some preachy SJW book but even if it was, and you happen not to be into that, the novel is written in such a way that at different stages of your life you might pull something different from it. Dune works on multiple levels, which is why it’s still as successful as it is, that said while I appreciated many aspects of the book I am not dying to read to read the follow ups but I want to. And also Paul started to annoy at the end.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dune is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

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Cinderella (2021) | What If Ella was like Belle?

This modern interpretation of Charles Perrault’s classic fairytale by Kay Cannon is a comedy musical featuring well-known pop and rock hits, in addition to several original songs. Camila Cabello stars as the title character in her acting debut, alongside Nicholas Galitzine (The Craft: Legacy, Handsome Devil) as the prince, Billy Porter (Pose) as the fairy Godmother, Idina Menzel (Frozen) as the Stepmother, and Pierce Brosnan (A Long Way Down, The November Man) & Minnie Driver (About a Boy) as the king and queen.

Premise:  Ella is an ambitious young woman who has big dreams for her future that are thwarted by her patriarchal society. With the help of her Fab Godmother, she perseveres to make them come true.

Review: Going in I didn’t know this movie was a Jukebox Musical, which is not a problem for me since I loved Moulin Rouge, but it’s important to note that it is one because that helps a lot in the enjoyment of the movie. The song choices are great, they work well with the story, modernizing it just enough and making it fresh.

Even knowing this was a musical, I was still shocked at the talent involved. For one I recognized a lot of British comedians and actors, but I kind of expected just a few cast members to sing. Here most of them have a musical number or/and participate in one. There are also many clever little changed to the story that shift things a bit without them being a total reboot of the story and characters. In this version some characters have more to do while others were added to the story. For example, Menzel’s stepmother is more mean than straight up evil and her motivations make some sense, the king and queen have more to do, and changes have been made to the prince that matches with the ones made to Ella.
Ella has more agency, she’s driven, and not exactly waiting to be saved. She’s more like Belle than the classic Cinderella. I also like that Cinderella wasn’t supposed to be considered ugly, just unkempt, her stepsisters even acknowledges that she is beautiful at one point. I always found it weird in other versions that everyone seem to act like she’s ugly until she puts on sparkling dress.

The movie also has a lot of comedy in it, and the cast does a great job with it. Cabello being the least experienced here doesn’t embarrass herself in her performance, she does a good job. Porter as the fairy godmother fits in so well that it doesn’t distract from the movie at all. Music aside, the plot has a whole is what that fairytale would be like if it was written nowadays. it’s not perfect but it entertains.

Cinderella is a fun movie, with a nice song selection, and changes that brings a nice spin to the classic fairytale.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

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The Wheel of Time | Trailer

  • Writer: Robert Jordan (Novels), Rafe Judkins (Showrunner),
  • Directors: Uta Briesewitz, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Wayne Yip
  • Stars: Rosamund Pike, Josha Stradowski, Marcus Rutherford, Zoë Robins, Barney Harris, Madeleine Madden, Daniel Henney

The Wheel Of Time premieres on the 19 November 2021.

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings | An Ode to Asian Cinema with a Marvel Spin

After Marvel has been killing it with their TV series Wandavision, TFATWS, and a surprising entry with Black Widow, the studio is back is another block buster directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Just Mercy), who and co-wrote it with Andrew Lanham (The Kid) and Dave Callaham (WW84). The movie stars Simu Liu (Kim’s convenience) in the title role with Awkwafina (Nora from Queens), Tony Leung (The Grandmaster), Fala Chen (The Undoing), Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians), Florian Munteanu (Creed II), and Meng’er Zhang rounding out the cast.

Premise: Following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Shang-Chi is drawn into the clandestine Ten Rings organization, and is forced to confront the past he thought he left behind.

Review: This movie being about a superhero of color, some people might be tempted to compare this movie to Black Panther, but unlike Asian cinema black cinema is not as expansive and widely known. So where Ryan Coogler‘s built upon black cinema, Destin Daniel Cretton paid homage to the various Asian films has while creating his own world within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Cretton seamlessly mixes western and East Asian movie production styles in Shang-Chi.

The plot is quite compelling, it focuses on the family and a good chunk of it is on the antagonist that we get to know and understand fully. The rest of the MCU is referenced to point out that it’s all connected but this movie is mostly self-contained and centered on Shang-Chi’s family. There’s enough cool world building for the film to stand on its own, because the story spans throughout time with many flashbacks establishing each characters. The mix of different production styles and genres allow each of the action sequences to have a unique look and feel.
The fight choreography is an absolute joy to watch, it’s next level, because they really lean into the martial art aspect of the film. It also looks new and fresh with great cinematography and visual effects. However, the bigger and crazier the fights gets, the more it looks like any old Marvel VFX action sequence instead – meaning it’s good but not as exciting as it once was. I’m talking about a particular sequence in the third act, it’s cool to look at, if you can follow it. Since it’s Marvel, there’s humour throughout but it’s used well, it doesn’t take away from drama and gravitas of the film.

The cast is top notch, they are great and each are given cool character moments throughout the film. Simu Liu and Awkwafina make for a great duo, Leung is amazing, and the rest of the ladies are simply great.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a fun action movie with many surprises making it a top MCU film.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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