• Abigail (2019)

    Abigail is a Russian fantasy movie for teenagers and young adults that should appeal to fans of the Alita: Battle Angel, Divergent and Mortal Engines series. This stylish steampunk film tells the story of a teenage girl who is living in an isolated city menaced by a pandemic. Her infected father had been taken away by local security when she was just a child. While investigating her father's fate, she discovers that she has supernatural abilities. She realizes that the security department is not what it seems to be and joins an uprising organized by secretive magicians. She soon becomes the central role in the clash between the dictatorial government and the desperate rebels.

    Despite its negative reviews, Abigail convinces on multiple levels. First of all, the story comes around with quite a few ideas, turns and twists to keep the movie entertaining from start to finish through a running time of almost two hours. The locations are contrasting, creative and diversified. The colourful special effects add a lot of magical atmosphere to this inspiring fantasy blockbuster. The characters are interesting enough and portrayed by a cast of strong young actors and actresses with Georgian lead actress Tinatin Dalakishvili being the best. The film offers a great balanced mixture of action, drama, romance and suspense that should appeal to large audiences.

    There are only minor flaws to find in this movie. The main idea of the film isn't exactly new and the script could have been a little bit more creative to really stand out. The movie's final third is overall quite rewarding but the ending itself should have come full circle instead of leaving room for a potential sequel in my opinion. Still, a potential franchise would certainly have a lot of potential after this strong movie.

    In the end, Abigail is highly recommended to fans of steampunk fantasy films and dystopian science-fiction movies. The special effects are impressive, the settings are charming and the characters are attaching as well. Ignore the harsh negative reviews and enjoy this imaginative movie that should appeal not only to teenagers but also adult genre fans.

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  • Assassin's Creed (2016)

    Assassin's Creed was once a great video game franchise. However, quantity has become more important than quality over the past few years. The market has become over-saturated with countless video games, novels and other merchandise. The release of this movie can be considered the franchise's nadir.

    To start on a positive note, the movie's special effects look impressive thanks to a generous budget. The visual and sound elements are truly immersive. The locations in ancient Spain look stunning. The martial arts fight scene are intense.

    Everything else is disappointing however. The story is overall confusing, lacking structure and extremely thin. The characters are particularly unlikable and viewers won't care about their fates at all. The actors and actresses seem to have phoned in their performances that lack conviction, depth and talent. The locations in present-day Spain are bland, grey and repetitive.

    This movie is only interesting for die-hard fans of the franchise. It's one of the worst cases of a video game that was made into a movie. The hype surrounding this franchise has overstayed its welcome and this movie has rightfully been received unfavourably.

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  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is for die-hard fans of the Harry Potter universe only. The movie has a lack of interesting characters, plodding length and weak plot that make it hard to sit through. Especially the first hour is a lengthy tale without a proper story line that mostly focuses on mild slapstick humour.

    However, the film is saved by its creative universe, excellent special effects and of course the numerous intriguing beasts discovered throughout the movie. The second half of the movie quickens up the pace, becomes more sinister and ends on a high note in form of an epic battle.

    This movie never comes close to even the worst movies or novels of the Harry Potter franchise and is simply stated an average fantasy film. The hype around this film and its sequels is exaggerated and the cinematic Harry Potter universe should have concluded with one single movie about the seventh novel ten years ago. You can watch this movie if you are an avid fantasy movie fan but anyone else can ignore this start of a new series.

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  • Glass (2019)

    Glass starts like an intriguing supernatural thriller with bleak atmosphere as three men with mysterious powers encounter at a mental institution. The movie is a contiunuation of Unbreakable and Split, hence completing a trilogy that had started quite promisingly. The acting performances by a resilient and tough Bruce Willis, a highly diversified James McAvoy and a gloomily intellectual Samuel L. Jackson are absolutely outstanding. The settings are also quite intriguing as the mental institution has a vibe of insanity, isolation and secrecy. The camera work is calm and precise, amplifying an almost claustrophobic atmosphere.

    As the movie progresses however, it loses some of its atmosphere, creativity and wit as the film turns from a psychological thriller into an action film where the fascinating three main characters are degraded to superheroes that could come straight out of the uninspired, repetitive and stereotypical Marvel universe. The movie progressively loses its identity and even the usual twist that occurs in Shyamalan's clever films is too predictable to leave a mark. The viewers gets fed entertaining but shallow popcorn cinema by the end.

    The movie starts like a rich meal at a steakhouse to turn into Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food by the end. The exposition of the movie is brilliant, the rising action is promising leading to a tense climax but the falling action is disappointing and the resolution simply uninteresting. The film will have commercial success since people prefer empty superhero flicks over Shyamalan's more intellectual works. However, more sophisticated cinephiles will feel let down. It feels as if Shyamalan tried to jump the bandwagon midway through the film. It isn't surprising that he wants to experience commercial success after his unique films like The Happening have been harshly criticized by people who are unable to think outside the box. But as a fan of his works, the outcome of Glass is disappointing, especially since its premise had been so promising. Since the first two thirds of the film are still great, the movie deserves an overall solid rating by mathematical laws but the final third feels like a huge failure to me. It makes sense to watch the film if you have watched Unbreakable and Split but if you haven't, do yourself a favour and refrain from watching this to avoid popcorn cinema disappointment.

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  • Aquaman is another exchangeable superhero movie but it's so dynamic and visually stunning that you won't care about the insultingly predictable plot and the repetitive superhero tropes.

    The movie has a short and appropriate introduction before the epic adventure unfolds and ends on a concise positive note going back to its opening sequence. The underwater world looks fantastic and especially the animals like sharks are lovely. The quest that leads the main character and his female sidekick across the planet includes stunning locations like Sicily and Morocco that offer a welcome change from the seas. The settings are carefully chosen and cleverly mixed with computer animations. Director James Wan filmed everything calmly, extravagantly and precisely. Even the dramatic action scenes like the breathtaking escape sequence in Sicily avoid shaky cameras and exaggerated special effects which makes the film enjoyable to watch from start to finish. The final duel between the courageous half-breed protagonist and his sinister half-brother is visually spectacular and emotionally engaging.

    You will get exactly what you expect from this movie: shallow but gripping entertainment for the whole family with a big budget. It's pleasant while it lasts but also quickly forgotten because of predictable tropes, an overall tiresome story and mostly average acting performances. Up next, let's create another exchangeable superhero movie called Airwoman, Earthtransgender or Firetiger.

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