In Hong Kong, land space is limited, soaring residential property and rental prices have made it extremely difficult for many ordinary Hong Kong citizens to own a house of their own without tying themselves up in a lifetime of debt. This is mainly due to rampant property speculation which caused prices to rise uncontrollably in the property market over the years. As a result, society has become increasingly shallow, superficial and materialistic over the years as the desire for more money to afford a property leads to further erosion of moral values and core ethics, affecting future generations.
Temporary Family is basically a story about the lives of four people who are forced to live together in a luxury apartment after their plan to resell it backfired due to property market cooling measures implemented by the Hong Kong government. Lung (Nick Cheung) is a desperate property agent who tries to earn more money to buy a 1,000 sq ft flat to please her air-stewardess girlfriend Julie (Myolie Wu) so that she would marry him. Charlotte (Sammi Cheng) is a recent divorcee who refuses to accept that her husband just doesn't love her anymore and unable to move on, even after receiving a large sum of money after the divorce. Lung's step-daughter, Ah Hak (Angelababy) has a flat but she doesn't like the location and she wants to stay with Lung instead. Very Wong (Ou Hao) is a rich mainland colleague of Lung's who is eager to prove his worthiness to his wealthy dad that he can be successful without his father's help.
The film has a weird blend of comedy and drama that works quite well. Some of the jokes were quite funny and entertaining. Nick Cheung and Sammi Cheng both delivered strong acting performances to carry the film. Another thing worth mentioning is Angelababy Yeung's appearance without make-up. WOW. It really shows what a huge difference make-up can have on a woman's appearance. (Don't get me wrong, she still look attractive though) It's quite rare for an actress to be willing to make such an appearance in film. As usual, there's a few Hong Kong celebrity cameo appearances (Jacky Cheung, Ivana Wong) throughout the film as well.
As the film progresses, it starts to shift its focus to Charlotte, who is still hoping that one day she can reunite with her husband of 10 years. She has dedicated most of her life for her husband. Her emotions and drive provide the necessary emotional backdrop to show the audience why a residential property should be a home instead of a mere trading asset. The film lets its audience to sit back, reflect, and think about what is the fundamental purpose of owning a property in the first place...is it a home for you and your family to live in or just something that you can trade countless times with other people? A house should be a place for you to provide shelter to your family to create memories together. Most of the property speculation are mainly driven by greed or desire to make profit. Furthermore, society nowadays has become so obsessed with money, property ownership to the point that people are willing to forsake love and relationship for them. It's sad but true at the same time.
Despite its thoughtful premise and decent acting performances from the main casts, the script is just not compelling enough to leave a strong lasting impression to the audience. The film does not push its themes further enough to pack a punch. It takes a more light-hearted, entertaining approach by providing a happy ending for its closure. Overall, Temporary Family is still a decent film to watch, it's just that I was actually hoping that the film would take a much more ambitious approach to push it further.
First and foremost, Lucy isn't exactly the typical sci-fi action film that you would expect. The film shares many similarities with Limitless (2011), Watchmen (2009), The Matrix (1999), The Tree of Life (2011, especially the abstract imagery of the Universe and our planet), Her (2013) and Transcendence (2014). The film has a slightly misleading neuroscience premise that's based on the age-old, silly '10% of brain' myth that most humans use only 10% (or less) of their brain capacity. In actual fact, humans use nearly 100% of their brains in various ways...with many parts of our brain are not accessed consciously but rather subconsciously most of the time. However, humans never actually use 100% of their cerebral capacity consciously at the same time (full control and pushes its limit).
The film is basically a fictional story about a woman who is being forced to work as a drug mule manage to 'unlock' her entire brain capacity, consciously at the same time and gain exceedingly powerful physical and mental abilities after a packet of a newly-developed synthetic drug called "CPH4" breaks inside of her body. However, her body becomes highly unstable and starts to disintegrate due to the limitation of the human body and she needs more and more of the drug to sustain herself. The film asks thought-provoking 'what ifs' questions that are meaningful, provocative and worthy of our attention: What if the synaptic networks of our brain are so perfectly connected that we are capable of transmit more information at one time? What if we have access to all our motory functions, deepest memories and knowledge in fractions of a second? What if we are capable of using 100% of our cerebral capacity, consciously at the same time (all regions of the brain are pushed to the limits and we are able to control the subconscious regions of the brain)? Most importantly, what would happen if a person eventually gains complete control/mastery of elementary/subatomic particles that exist in the quantum realm?
The film gives some rather clear answers that may seem absurd, nonsensical or silly to many, but some of them actually makes perfect sense if you think about it carefully. However, it is true to say that the film borrowed a few scientific principles (the basics of quantum mechanics and brain functions) and embellished them a bit for entertainment purposes. At first, the person acquires various enhanced physical and mental capabilities: perfect marksmanship, extreme agility, instantaneous reflexes, fast absorption of knowledge, immunity to pain and fear...and subsequently, increasingly powerful abilities such as telepathy (through accessing the target's brain synaptic networks, either by touching or through various electromagnetic waves), telekinesis, the ability to interpret/decipher/control various electromagnetic waves (TVs, internet or cell phones) as particles have wave-like properties, atemporal (free from limitations of time) and able to perceive time in a non-linear perspective, clairvoyance (the ability to gain information about an object, person, location or physical event through means other than the known senses), quantum teleportation across space-time continuum and matter or energy manipulation.
In short, the film is actually a mixture of facts and fiction. Some parts of the film do require a fair amount of suspension of disbelief from audiences as the writer/director has taken some creative liberties with its grand and rather ambitious sci-fi premise (Besson has admitted that this film is a lot more fiction than science). Although some of the main lead's abilities look downright silly and ludicrous, they're actually quite new and imaginative: The scenes where Lucy 'vomits' pure energy and light, deciphering phone signal waveforms, typing on two laptops while absorbing useful information at the same time or growing slithery black goo that attaches itself to surrounding matter in the room, converting energy from matter, to supply her with limitless power, etc.
While all facts are not necessarily 'true'; some fiction are not entirely lies either. Just that the 'world' around us behaves like so, we tend to perceive it like so. This doesn't mean that in other parts of the Universe, the same rules apply. While some people might find it hard to understand, all things, including living beings, consist of matter which has mass and each of them occupy a space-time dimension. We are bounded by the laws of motion and gravity. We are our own observer as time is relative while we're moving through space-time. For example, let's take the comparisons between Newton's law of motion and Einstein's Theory of Relativity. In your opinion, which one is correct? Well, the answer is both are correct. But the difference between them is precision. The formulas and calculations proposed by Einstein is far accurate and precise compared to Newton's. However, Einstein manage to provide an explanation about what gravity is but Newton doesn't. However, it doesn't mean that Newton's law is wrong. Both mathematical calculations actually just provide a close approximation to how matter behaves on a macroscopic level.
Although the film's premise is not horrible or completely illogical, the execution is rather sloppy at places. The film shows the evolution of all living things on this planet by cutting in various shots of nature, the birth of the galaxy, scenes of animal species engaging in sexual intercourse for the purpose of reproduction, footage of cheetahs hunting gazelles, glimpses of a cell undergoing mitosis and splitting in two, a scene of an early hominid, Australopithecus drinking water from a lake a few million years ago, etc. Unfortunately, all these pieces just don't fit together nicely and seems rather out of place. There are numerous plot contrivances to allow characters to perform a certain action just to move the plot forward. There's no character development and backstory. The characters in the film don't have any significant emotional attachment to any other person on the screen.
Despite its shortcomings in characterization and plot, Scarlett Johansson managed to pull out a great performance to carry the film. Her panic shaking as she cries and begs for her life when she meets Mr.Jang for the first time or even when she wakes up after heavy sedation feels real and truly gives the feeling that she's in peril. Later on, when she is able to access her deepest memories and cry profusely during the phone conversation with her mum, it clearly shows her character's vulnerability. But as Lucy rapidly evolves, her lack of expression shows that she is gradually losing her emotions and humanity. It shows that she has truly become transcendent and no longer has any petty human concerns. On the other hand, Choi Min-sik done a great job as the merciless, frightening Korean drug kingpin, Mr.Jang. His presence on screen shows that he's not the man you would want to mess with. Unfortunately, Morgan Freeman doesn't have much to do with his character other than delivering exposition for the audience to know more about the premise.
In my opinion, this is by no means a terrible film, it's rather fast-paced, thought-provoking and entertaining. The purpose of science fiction is to seek answers for big important questions, to pique your interest or curiosity to further question, to find the truth and making sense of the world around us. This film succeeds in this aspect, despite its flaws. I believe that you'll appreciate this film more if you're willing to make an effort to take a step further to ponder and think, seek answers to extract the facts included in the film.
Note: Please don't be stupid enough to ever think that drugs can make you smart. C.P.H.4 is just a fictional synthesized chemical drug that's based on (as mentioned in the film) a natural molecule that pregnant women produce after six weeks of pregnancy in very, very tiny quantities and is intended to promote fast cellular growth for the fetus (brain cells, bones, etc...said to be 6-carboxytetrahydropterin synthase or thyroid hormones) No one actually knows what other chemicals is included during the production of the synthetic drug. Even if the synthetic drug does exist, it doesn't mean that any humans can survive after taking large doses from it, only (possibly, maybe) a few selective humans can do that.
http://yjcool.blogspot.com/2014/08/movie-review-lucy.html For those who are interested to know more about Lucy abilities and other specific details, please visit this link: http://yjcool.blogspot.com/2014/08/concise-explanation-about-lucy.html
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a modern reboot of the 30-year-old popular franchise of the same name. This film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman and produced by Michael Bay. For those who are not familiar with the franchise, it's basically a story about four mutated turtles who grow up in the sewers, raised and trained by a mutated rat who knows the art of Ninjutsu to fight against the evil Foot Clan led by Ninja Master Oroku Saki, also known as The Shredder.
There are some new changes to the origins and designs of the turtles in the film which might upset a lot of fans of the franchise. Surprisingly, I'm probably one of the few who are fine with most of changes. Come on, the original storyline is quite ridiculous: Splinter was originally the Ninja Master Hamato Yoshi's rat and he was smart enough to learn his fighting moves to become a master without the mutagen (although the best storyline would be the current depiction of Splinter in the 2012 ongoing TV series, who is actually Hamato Yoshi himself). The four Turtles were accidentally exposed to the mutagen after a traffic accident with their young owner as a bystander...So I'm okay with the changes to the origins.
Moreover, I find the new designs of the turtles to be quite realistic, modern, very distinctive looking and look cool. The CGI renders of the turtles were look great on screen. However, my biggest gripe is the depiction of their size and strength in the film. Sure, they act like teenagers, but they don't look like teenagers. Their larger physique show that they're much too powerful compared with their previous live-action or animation counterparts. These turtles can crush vehicles easily, deliver punches and kicks strong enough to send you flying.
The best thing about the film is that it did a great job in portraying the turtles on screen, retaining the distinctive personalities of the turtles we've known for years: Leonardo - the eldest, most disciplined tactical leader of the turtles who fights with two katanas, Donatello - the nerdy and geeky turtle with a bo staff, he's the brains of the group, Raphael - the hot-tempered, strong, aggressive and tough turtle who uses a pair of sai, Michelangelo - the wisecracking, easygoing, goofy but lovable turtle who uses a pair of nunchaku, who's essentially the provider of comic relief among the turtles. Among the turtles, Raphael and Michelangelo are the ones that stand out in this film. The family dynamic between the turtles and splinter was good as well. The film shows the camaraderie of the turtles and how they interact with each other throughout the film...the usual brotherly in-fighting between Raphael and Leonardo, with Raphael often challenges Leonardo's leadership, the mutual love and respect for Splinter or the brotherly banter between Michelangelo and the turtles. Despite the fighting and arguments, they're still brothers and love each other very much.
There's a few good character moments especially Donnie's notable crush on April, Raph's touching confession near the end of the film, the amusing turtles elevator scene, Donnie losing himself when Splinter tempting him with pizza, Donnie and Raph Victoria Secret ad. The film also delivers some great action scenes, notably the awesome Splinter VS Shredder fight, the spectacular, fast-paced, exciting snowy mountain action sequence and the climactic Turtles VS Shredder battle.
There's a lot more fun when the Turtles finally appear on screen. It's such a shame that the film gave too much screen time to April and her cameraman, Vernon. (It's a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, so give them more screen time!) The human characters in the film are dull and forgettable and they're just sort of there to serve the plot. Not to mention, the film's storyline has some noticeable flaws. It has numerous plot logic issues (especially the villain's main plan), bad dialogues and some unnecessary human scenes. Occasionally, it feels like there's some gaps between scenes, plot contrivances throughout the film. Some of the character lines are poorly written as well.
Furthermore, the film lacks a memorable and compelling villain for the story, just like many of this year's blockbusters. There's a lack of character development for Shredder and Karai. Shredder is a strong villain for the turtles mostly because of the giant mechanical suit, but there's not much depth in him. His character motivations were unclear. I'm also not quite particularly happy with the portrayal of Foot Clan as a local crime syndicate...who are no longer highly trained ninja/assassins, but soldiers with guns.
Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles isn't great, but it's still a fun and entertaining sci-fi action comedy film, mainly because of the turtles, but don't expect a great story with meaningful catchy dialogues. In my opinion, it's still a far better film compared with the previous TMNT trilogy. There have been many versions of TMNT throughout the years, but the ongoing 2012 TV series is still the best one so far.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun, entertaining, spectacular sci-fi action comedy adventure. However, despite the rave reviews from the critics and mainstream audience, I just don't think the film actually lives up to the hype and expectations to be a great one. Let me explain why.
The story is mainly about a band of interstellar thieves, thugs and assassins - Star lord, Gamora, Rocket, Groot and Drax, got caught up in a huge galactic threat when one of them retrieved a highly-desired mysterious orb from a desolated planet. These individuals eventually decided to work together as a team and become heroes along the way to stop the threat.
Before this, the Guardians Of The Galaxy consists of characters not known by many, even among the Marvel fan base. It's officially the first Marvel film that ventures into space, introducing the general audience to the expansive intergalactic worlds in the Marvel Cinematic Universe...with an entirely new team and not the previously established Avengers. It brings the audience to a whole new unseen world, featuring a multitude of alien species with distinctive personalities and abilities, with addition of exciting spaceship battles and chases as well.
The visuals are spectacular and the action scenes were great. Many of the 1960s/1970s pop classics that forms the soundtrack blends in quite nicely with the film. Each Guardian have their own kick-ass, cool or funny character moments in the film. The action scenes between Drax and Ronan or Korath, Gamora and Nebula, Star Lord and the Sakaaran army are really well done. But, among the Guardians, it is actually a giant walking tree and a talking raccoon that stole the spotlight compared with the others! When Groot extends his arm and pierces through a few Sakaaran army soldiers and repeatedly slams them against the walls is both shocking and awesome.The 'We are Groot' scene or Rocket's expression when Drax tries to comfort him by gently petting his head are beautifully done and emotional at the same time.
All the Marvel films, since Iron Man, did a great job of making fun at itself by injecting decent amount of humour and witty lines into the story, keeping the audience laughing along the way. This worked out fine...the engaging sense of humour actually helps to balance out the drama and action to make the films fun and entertaining to watch. But this time, they went overboard with it. Guardians of the Galaxy is so overly playful with itself that it has gotten too self-absorbed with its humour. It felt cartoony at times and lacks the seriousness it needs to be an epic film. It's been shown that billions of lives are at stake and even the galaxy is under serious threat. How do you even care what's at stake when the film doesn't take itself seriously when it should? (Moreover, some of the jokes presented in the film didn't work for me at all)
The film has too many new characters and most of them only make brief appearances...there's a lot of new unfamiliar places or locations which are previously unheard of without proper explanation. There's no character depth for each of the Guardians, you don't feel like you know them much by the end of the film as their backstories were only briefly touched upon. Gamora, also known as the galaxy's deadliest assassin or the Deadliest Woman in the Galaxy, trained by Thanos, gets easily beaten by others? The romance of Gamora with Star lord feels forced as well. I was also slightly disappointed that Thanos only make a brief cameo appearance...I expected more of his involvement in the film. It didn't create any strong lasting impression for the characters, much like Captain America: The First Avenger and Iron Man did for their main characters. The pacing doesn't flow well as the story never slows down and there's too many things to cover in the film.
There's so many small fine details that the general audience (those who are unfamiliar with the Marvel Universe) most likely won't know or understand: No one knows who Tivan/The Collector actually is or the Yaka arrow that Yondu carries around with him...the film didn't clearly explains what the infinity stones represents (mind, power, reality, space, soul, time), no mention of the Infinity Gauntlet, who is the giant figure that uses the Power stone, etc. Most of these details should be explained in this film instead of relying on the next sequel to do the job.
Like all the previous Marvel films (except Thor, who has Loki), Guardians of the Galaxy lacks a memorable and compelling villain for the story. There's a lack of character development for Ronan The Accuser. Ronan's lieutenants, Korath and Nebula (also Thanos' adopted daughter), bring nothing to the table...we don't know them much at all. For those who are expecting a great epic teamwork battle in the finale will be disappointed. Why would a villain who hates an entire race and planet, tries to avenge his father's and ancestor's deaths could be easily distracted? 'What are you doing?' I find myself having the same response as Ronan, questioning the director's decision for making Star lord pulling such a ridiculous act on screen. Come on, you have a villain who's in possession of the Power stone and this is what you can do with the character?
Like I mentioned earlier in the review, the film was fun and entertaining, but it was too much that nothing feels serious anymore. It's certainly not the best Marvel film ever. In my opinion, X-Men: Days of Future Past still remains as the best Marvel film of the year.
Note: The post-credit scene was quite disappointing and not worth the wait. They supposed to add something that raises the expectations for future films but they didn't. That sucks.
In all honesty, Earth to Echo is not an original film. It has too many similarities with classic films like Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982), Richard Donner's The Goonies (1985) and J.J. Abram's Super 8 (2011) to the point it's considered a ripoff. It's basically the same children-alien family sci-fi adventure film, albeit a more robotic alien that's more similar to Wall-E than E.T.
The story is pretty much the same, it's simple, straightforward and predictable: Three kids (later on there's another girl) that only have a few days left before moving out of their neighbourhood. So they started an adventure together and discover a robotic alien, decide to help it to go back home. The main difference is the way they shoot the film. Many people would say that the film employs 'found footage' technique, but I find it to be slightly inaccurate. To put it accurately, the film is an edited video recording of the kids adventure from different cameras own by one of the kids.
The kids they hired to act in the film did a great job in portraying their friendship on-screen. The interaction between the kids felt genuine enough for us to believe that they really share a special bond with each other. However, Echo the central alien character, is very poorly developed (it looks very cute though). There's not much screen time for the alien for the audience to feel any emotional attachment to it. The movie tends to focus on the kids and their night adventure rather than developing the unusual 'alien-human friendship' between Echo and the kids. The film also briefly touched on child neglect and abandonment issues without further development.
Personally, I find it difficult to have any emotions at all when the kids (especially Alex) gets very emotional when they bid farewell to Echo during the last scene. There's also some questionable plot logic issues in the film: How the kids manage to travel long distances with bicycles in just a few hours without feeling exhausted? (it's a several kilometres of open highway and they're just kids!) Why there's no cars on the highway at all? If there is, why no one hesitated to stop and ask why they're cycling on the highway in the middle of the night? Why these kids manage to easily walk or break into shops? Furthermore, the 'construction workers' (they're actually investigators or secret government officials) are not believable...the way they treat the kids isn't realistic at all.
Although I would say that the adventure is fun, enjoyable and entertaining for young kids, I would recommend this film only for those who never watched E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982), The Goonies (1985) or Super 8 (2011). It's not a bad film by any means, it's just that it's been done before...It doesn't offer anything new or provide any further improvements to the genre.
4.5/10 - The film lacks originality, it uses a plot concept that's done well in past films and offers no improvements at all.
7/10 - If you haven't watch E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982), The Goonies (1985) or Super 8 (2011).