Film Review: BUSHWICK (USA 2016)

bushwick.jpgWhen a Texas military force invades their Brooklyn neighborhood, 20-year-old Lucy and war veteran Stupe must depend on each other to survive.

Directors: Cary Murnion, Jonathan Milott
Writers: Nick Damici, Graham Reznick
Stars: Dave Bautista, Brittany Snow, Christian Navarro

Review by Gilbert Seah
 

 BUSHWICK is a working-class neighbourhood in the northern part of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The neighbourhood, historically a community of Germanic immigrants and their descendants, has been predominantly Hispanic in the late 20th century. The neighbourhood, formerly Brooklyn’s 18th Ward, is now part of Brooklyn Community Board 4. It has been the scene of extreme looting during the 1977 blackout. This low income working-class venue has been chosen as the setting for directors Murnion and Milott apocalyptic tale of destruction, chaos and survival.

When the film opens, directors Murnion and Milot prompts the audience to evaluate their most dreaded fears. As 20-year old Lucy (Brittany Snow) chides her boyfriend for being scared of being in the dark while leaving the underground (subway), he replies that he should get some incentive for not being scared As they converse, they notice that they see no one else. The place is deserted. Then appears from nowhere a man screaming as he is inflamed. The two run to the street level where the boyfriend is shot and she left alone. Lucy then meets Stupe (Dave Bautista) and the two newly met companions bind together to figure out what is going on. The script does not reveal the answer till half way through the film.

The film, written by Nick Damici and Graham Reznick is well shot by Lyle Vincent with an atmosphere of the end of the world scenario. The trouble is that audiences have seen all this before in a dozen or so films of this nature. With only two main characters, the film becomes not only more minimal but hardly credible. How and why has so much happened in the so few minutes that Lucy is in the underground? Do the audience really care? There is hardly any excitement created as no one really cares about these two characters. Also, any reason for this has been already put together in one movie or other.

The script is devoid of humour. The only funny part appears to be the name of the main character – Stupe. The film is quite violent in terms of wounds see on screen like Lucy’s shot-off finger and Stupe’s wound.

Actors Bautista and Snow do their upmost best to keep their characters interesting. The scene where Stupe has to pull out chard of metal from his leg, with Lucy looking on while burning it with red hot metal for at least 5 seconds to kill the germs, seems to be put there to gross out audiences but still with little effect.

The film is nothing more, than running around, shootings, more running around and even more shootings. More people get killed, then more running around and shootings. The film contains a lot of false hopes One is the search for Father John in a church.

Another appears to be evacuation by helicopters at a park. But when the climax comes, nothing much makes much sense. This film is clearly as the saying goes, a film with no head and no tail.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKvNp0PEkHY

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Film Review: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 (USA 2017)

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guardians2.jpgSet to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

Director: James Gunn
Writers: James Gunn, Dan Abnett (based on the Marvel comics by) |
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell

Review by Gilbert Seah 

 
GUARDIANS OF GALAXY Volume 2 follows exactly the path of sequels – louder and more of what were found in the original.

If the first film is your cup of tea, is is doubtless that you will enjoy the volume 2 – because it is nothing more than a replica of the same, only with Disney/Marvel going haywire and completely berserk. The best example is the climatic fight scene where during the battle between the hero and villain, the hero suddenly turns into a pixeled chomping Pacman. (Silly but funny!)

The films does boast an awesome soundtrack. Those who love the oldies, might go out and buy the soundtrack, maybe even skip the movie. There are are familiar songs, some seldom heard for a long time and some choice ones I have never heard before. The film is scored, as in the first film by Tyler Bates.

So, who are these Guardians of the Galaxy? The leader is an unchallenged Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who has a romantic fling with Gamora (Zoe Saldana), an alien orphan fighting to redeem her past crimes. There is also Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a highly skilled warrior, Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper). There is absolutely no explanation why Baby Groot is in this film after a larger Groot died in the original film.

Subplots are thrown in with additional characters like Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s sister. The only other character of importance is Quill’s dad, Ego (Kurt, Russell) who turns out to be the film’s villain.
The plot of the film involves the Guardians of the Galaxy saving the Galaxy from destruction, once at the start of the film and then again. But the guardians are a comical troupe led by no less than a character of the same mould. They obviously get not trouble while saving the galaxy – all these antics supposedly providing fun and reason for millions of cinemagoers around the world to cough up money for an admission ticket or even more to see the film in imax 3-D.

The film contains lots of irrelevant and meaningless quotes that should amuse those easily amused. When Quill’s father turns bad, Quill’s adopted father Yondu (Michael Rooker) tells him: “He might be your father, but he is not your daddy!” Or goes the another saying: “I know who you are, because you are me!”

There is a lot of ego on display here. Not only is the villain named Ego but he is also omnipresent as the entire planet which is also called Ego. There is the egoistic rivalry between the two sisters and more important, the rivalry between the father and son. The father is the personification of ego. He says:’What I have planted is an extension of myself so that eventually, everything is me.”

It is evident that director Gunn has put in a lot of effort to make Volume 2 worth the price of the admission ticket. But take away the special effects and production design, dazzling and expensive though they may be, and what is left is a narrative mess of a tedious convoluted plot littered with irrelevant humour.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cv2ueYnKjg

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