Friday, May 1, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

Avengers: Age of Ultron is a difficult movie to rate. With its predecessor being the almighty 2012's The Avengers, Age of Ultron had many expectations to live up to. And thankfully, it has surpassed those set limits.

To start with, when we watched The Dark Knight Rises a few months after The Avengers, we declared that the latter is a childish flick. And that's true. But when Joss Whedon (one of my fav directors) decided to pen the first draft of the sequel's script in a bar after a few days of The Avengers' release, we fans knew that Age of Ultron would be worth looking forward to because Whedon is not only a creative director but a visionary artist.

Age of Ultron's strongest point is the face-off between Ultron and Iron Man. Ultron is a force similar to Tony Stark's intellect ('cause Stark created it, duh!). So, you can say that the egomaniacal side of Stark is reflected on to Ultron. And that creates a phenomenon (like in Marvel's Daredevil) of the good vs evil triumph. Also, James Spader was the best choice to voice the villain due to his dialogue delivery in The Blacklist.

Another positive point is that the long sequence at the onset of the blockbuster is superb. And enthralls viewers that if action in the start is awesome, then the final battle will be the epitome of awesome. Plus, the Iron Man vs Hulk fight is incomparable to any other CGI fight scene (let's see what Snyder does with Superman vs Batman).

Now, for the negatives: One, the the movie often seems slow, too slow. The Avengers had better humor so we were able to pass the lagging scenes. But here, you feel that you can doze through at least twenty minutes of the film.

Secondly, the story sometimes becomes too complex. Not that we adults can't comprehend it but maybe younger audiences should be allowed more bite than bark. And a minority of the shots seemed like they were just made to showcase the use of CGI rather actually do something. Godzilla is a prime example of CGI over story but Avengers 2 has much plot than SFX.

To end with, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a must-watch for comic-book fans. For the people who want Nolanesque brilliance, look elsewhere, but do give this movie a gambling chance.

3 out of 4.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Gone Game

Check out my third short film:

Leave your reviews in the comments section below.

Thanks in advance.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dukhtar - A Pakistani Gem

Dukhtar (Daughter) is an epitome of parallel cinema. Unfortunately, it does not go beyond the boundaries with its message.

The storyline follows a mother (Samiya Mumtaz) and her ten-year-old daughter (Saleha Aref), who escape their home in order to restrict the girl from an arranged marriage to an elderly tribal leader.

Filled with brilliant cinematography highlighting the picturesque mountains and valleys of Northern Pakistan, Dukhtar is a gem of theatrical beauty. The cast is superb with the foremast performance by lead actress Mumtaz, with strong support from Mohib Mirza (the truck driver) and Aref who played the titular character.

The movie does have stunning direction. With more than enough artistically shot scenes. But the writing power is limited. Only some of the dialogues are worth applause, and the entire movie relies on Mumtaz to push it forward.

Another negative factor is the predictability. The is one of the most foreseeable dramas I have watched. Furthermore, the screenplay confuses the viewer into where the plot is leading them. Is it a dramatic thriller? Is it an adventure? This flick should have used a particular genre. And by trying to be multi-layered it sort of failed in this venture.

Yet, it is still one of the best non-commercial features of 2014. And I want to congratulate writer/director Afia Nathaniel in showing the world that Pakistani motion-pictures are no joke. And also for her debut being selected as an official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the 87th Academy Awards.

IMDb: 7.3/10.
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A.
BO101: 3 out of 4.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Passing the Driving Test 2

My third official short film. Shot on location in Al Ain, the United Arab Emirates. It is the sequel to Passing the Driving Test

Plot: The Brother (Hassan Faheem) finally gets his license. Now, Ali wants a try at the test, much to the dismay of The Instructor.

Dear friends, this movie is for you to review, in the comments section below.

Also, be sure to like my production crew's page on FaceBook:

Thanks for watching! (in advance).

Passing the Driving Test 2:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Passing the Driving Test

My 2nd official short film. Again, this was shot in Al Ain, UAE. My dear readers it is up to you to review this movie. And please place your remarks in the comments section below this article.

Passing the Driving Test:

Thanks in advance for watching/commenting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Nisar Masoom's The Race

Hi people,

It's been a long time since I've posted a review. University days have been keeping me busy. But I also had the chance to foster my creativity. I give you my first official short film titled The Race. And this time around it is up to you, my dear readers, to review it in your comments.

Thanks for watching in advance. And do share at your convenience.

The Race:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Expendables 3 Review

With a plot that could have been derived by a 7-year old, and a mega-ensemble cast of action stars, The Expendables 3 was not bound to impress the majority of top critics. All that glitters is not gold, and this is true for the third outing of this franchise. The Expendables 3 is far from gold, but could still be hailed as silver.

You can tell by the tagline of the above poster of how poorly this film is written. Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Couture, Crews and Schwarzenegger (still need Wikipedia to spell that correctly) return in this feature. While the list of new veteran actors include Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes (who is finally out of prison after 3 years), Kelsey Grammer, Antonio Banderas, and Mel Gibson who plays the antagonist (and acts the paramount throughout the running time). And the range of latest young thespians are Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell and Victor Ortiz. 
  Yes, we have a super-action packed line-up of stars. What we don't have is a sane script that all of the actors could have properly done justice to. Let me start with the negative points of the movie, although I began with that from the get-go.
  Firstly, the plot. The ending can be guessed by any casual adrenaline movie-watcher after viewing the first 10 minutes! I mean this is the third venture of The Expendables series. Stallone should have at least taken an extra year to release this film if he wanted a critically acclaimed version. The Expendables 3 is directed by Patrick Hughes and this makes it only his 2nd feature-film. And kudos to his directing ability as the newbie did a fantastic job of handling such a colossal cast. I'm only praising the guy as I am outlining the facts of this film. Now to continue the negativity. The script is penned by the husband-wife duo Rothenberger/Benedikt and Stallone himself (who has also co-written the screenplays of the first 2 installments).
  Rothenberger/Benedikt have only one writing credit before this film and that is the 2013 White House invasion action-thriller Olympus Has Fallen which starred Gerard Butler. And was a pretty damn good movie. So I expected more from them or at least at the same level as OHF when they co-wrote this script. The storyline follows Barney Ross (Stallone) recruiting younger blood for his fight against Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), the Expendables co-founder who is wanted by the CIA. 
  The tension played between Ross and Stonebanks is mediocre and could have been written more fluently. The predictability level of this venture is high above the bar. I don't mind the plot outline but there was no hard-work done in elevating the thrill throughout the 126-minutes run. Even the universally panned Sabotage (2014) did a better job at creating a dread-filled atmosphere. 
  Also, I saw no need for a younger cast of actors. The Expendables 3 should have added more villains like Steven Seagal or their initial idea of casting Jean-Claude Van Damme again (as the identical twin brother of the main villain in The Expendables 2). There should have been additional opposing characters but all we get is Gibson. The latter who is an old-time action star but never starred in bad-ass films like the majority of the other cast members. So I don't understand the point of only giving him a diabolical role. Stallone should have shunned the idea of budding performers and added more fiends. Also, Bruce Willis was missed in his role as Mr. Church as Ford could not exercise the same level of dialogue delivery in his role as CIA officer Max Drummer.
  The first two films had a variety of villains played by awesome entertainers like Eric Roberts, Steve Austin, Gary Daniels, Scott Adkins and Jean-Claude Van Damme respectively. Here, we only have Gibson while we had at least two in the start-up installments. This factor and the plot are the worst attributes of the third part.
  Now, for the pros: excellent acting by Gibson, Banderas and Stallone. The trio give their best blockbuster performances. The most praise I can give is to Gibson who really nails the bad-guy role. Another major pro is the superb action scenes. Some are, I admit, over-top, but the majority aren't and they're so fun to watch in a theater. I have to recall that the first half-hour of dialogues are completely vague, but when the movie passes its thirty-minutes windows, the conversations between characters were penned quite humorously. And this I can only attribute to the third screenwriting credit. 

  The stunts are awesome, and when the action begins no one wants it to end. The whole atmosphere transforms into a Battlefield map, and we see so many explosions that some would've guessed Michael Bay had filmed this outing. Action is fantastically choreographed throughout the screen-time. And is the dominant highlight of this motion-picture. The Expendables 3 is undoubtedly is the predominant of the three in terms of action.
  The Expendables has a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, whilst the sequel has a 65% approval on the latter website. Both these individual ratings are higher than the 3rd installment's. And I'm not at all surprised. But if you watch this with an action junkie's eye, and not a critic's, then you will thoroughly enjoy the experience. 
  So, The Expendables 3 is way better than the first in the series, but falls short in its totality to The Expendables 2. Not only is the 2nd part the most critically-acclaimed in the franchise, but also the most financially successful gathering $305m at a budget of $100 million. The Expendables 3 has a lesser budget of $90m, but with such a low-scoring start-up weekend it will not be as monetarily rewarding as its predecessor. It will probably end its worldwide run at $150m-$180m becoming the lowest grosser among the series.
  That's not all folks. The Expendables 4 has already been announced and is confirmed to introduce former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan in a role. Just hope it has an above-average script.

The Expendables: 3/4.
The Expendables 2: 3.5/4.
The Expendables 3: 3/4.