Film Reviews by Tej

Welcome to Tej film reviews page. Tej has written 9 reviews and rated 100 films.

Fantastic visuals. good story but it's an edited mess lacking spark and charisma

There are films that oozes in class and charisma, regardless of whether the film's tone is lightweight or dark. Lord of the Rings is a dark tale for example but its direction oozed class, humour, bombast and engaging characters. Harry Potter was part whimsical that gradually grew darker in tone through the series but always maintained that much needed wealth of charisma.

Mortal Engines has potential and certainly delivers a visually sweeping epic...but much of it's character's dynamic are directed with utter blandless. The actors are more than capable and do their best but apart from the always reliable Hugo Weaving, they can't rise above the bland direction which is a real shame.

The film also felt tremendously chopped up, not giving any room for certain important story threads to breath and gain an emotional response from me that they should otherwise deserve. Support characters being introduced but never fleshed out...a problem that most multi book series suffer from in film adaptations which is understandable but better craftsmanship would maintain better focus. Here it's just too compressed, all over the place and severely serious all the time.

I can imagine the books would have been quite a great read. I might even pick up on reading the series (so I guess this film did enough to get me interested).

There are some memorable moments, mainly the opening scene's village true nature! And a particular "Terminator" type character demanding as much screen presence as Hugo Weaving.

It's such a mess but I still recommend it if you are a Fantasy movie junkie as it certainly offers enough entertainment...just not with the same class as other notable classics.


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Surprisingly great and faithful as a sequel to the greatest childrens movie

The first film is in my all time favourite holiday film. It is a true classic that justifies its status. I never tire watching it simply because its such a magical film filled with the beautiful songs, and a practically perfect cast (yes Dick Van Dyke included! His cockney accent is way over criticised and although no one on earth sounds anything like that, it's charming and I am a born 47 year old Londoner!) and of course Julie Andrews voice and demeanour is mesmerising and unmatched.

So this sequel was a must see for me but I was realistic about my expectations for it. I don't expect it to be anywhere as good as the original but I hoped it would be at least an enjoyable film in its own right.

So, after watching the sequel, I was completely floored. I was on cloud Poppins. It's a huge shock to find that this movie captures the same feeling and quality as the original in almost every way. The songs are stunningly delightful, each one brilliantly performed with the most sumptuous lyrics but absolutely fitting for this surreal world of Mary Poppins. It's as if Robert Sherman was back from the place that "lost things go" to scribe all the songs with his brother. Each song holds its own to match the first film's songs yet one rehash of any of the original songs either.

The characters are as charming as the original in their own way and Mary Poppins herself was ALMOST practically perfect in every way. The versatile immensely talented Emily Blunt is not quite the match for the purity of Julie's voice and she does overdo the shoulder swinging a tad whereas Julie was far more natural in her demeanour...surprising giving Emily's elite standard of acting but she was terrific in her own way with a slightly edgier and aggressive but still playful portrayal. The rest of the cast is lovely with two DIsney legends popping in with a wonderfully substantial contribution of their own and such a joy to see them on the screen in what almost feels like a complete circle of life for those two legends. Streep, a relatively younger legend once again nearly steals the show too. Ben Wishaw is especially excellent as the grown up Bank's son with grief and troubles of his own. The children are lovely too.

The story and atmosphere is somewhat a reflection of the first film but it's not a complete rehash. It's simply a natural follow up and this is a sequel where we don't want drastic changes, we want familiarity and it delivers just that, beautifully,

This is as true a Mary Poppins sequel expansion that you could ever want, maintaining the magical feeling of the original. Quite outstanding.

I still advise you not to expect the quality of the original if you are a fan of the original but to just enjoy everything this love letter has to deliver.

Standout ballad: "Lost Things Go". Standout wacky song: "Turning Turtle"


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Highly fun filled sequel though a tad overcooked with cultural sexism messages in the first act

I am an Arnie/Stallone/Statham action movie lover but I absolutely love female heroism in movies too, from since I was six years old, when Princess Leia converted Luke/Han rescue mission into a facety "take the lead and do it bloody right" approach. Then Ellen Ripley came along and stole the crown. But it's because females have been culturally perceived as "weaker" that is what makes them more badass than a male equivalent for me. They also have that little bit more complexity in their performances, adding more dimension. I love that and forever support them as greater complex action heroes. Girl power rocks. Generally of course because all actors are at the mercy of good writing and direction and of their own acting abilities.

Women are not conquering the world to enslave men, they are simply demanding more respect and equality, deservedly so. I hail to that as I know damn well how much they have been victimised.

I say all that first because in this film, I have to admit it overcooks the sexism message in the first act, dragging the pace a tad even for an exposition! But the theme is important and is worked in with lots of humour. But when the main story kicks in...'s fun fun fun, with superb actions sequences (Elastigirl is awesome), comedy and domestic humour, complete with an especially adorable Jack Jack.

So what we really have here, is a sequel that is exactly the same as the original....but gender swapped. Elastigirl is the superhero in dominant action while Mr Incredible is home-husband. There are plot revelations but you would probably guess it early on.

It's not as great as the first film and I never expected it to be. Sequels for me are about riding out with old friends you love and this film served its purpose, that's all I want. It delivers nothing new to the table (except for the gender role swapping) but given the magnificence of the first film, that's totally fine with me.

So if you taper your expectations, and are not sensitive to the film's reflection of the current cultural environment of female empowerment, I think you will enjoy this film. If you are sensitive like another reviewer here who gave this one star, then perhaps avoid it.

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My humbug scepticism evaporated from the moment is started

I enjoyed the first Paddington movie but not to the extent of being overly enamored with it and I am not a fan of slapstick bodily humour. So I was sceptical that I would enjoy the sequel as much as the rest of the planet seems to be enjoying.

But my scepticism evaporated the moment it started. This film is a visual treat and what's more, made me warm and fuzzy as it floods my senses with a "fantasy" version of London (my home) akin to what Mary Poppins and Peter Pan's interpretation of London. Beautiful colours and visceral sense of motion in the narrative and camerawork (particularly an astounding sequence involving a pop up book). But of course visuals dont make a movie. The story, characters, adventure and laugh out loud comedy combined into a rich wholesome quality family film. Although, Paddington Bear and a delightfully campy villain (Hugh Grant) anchors the film's enjoyment, the rest of the cast pads out superb support. Its all very whimsical of course but that's the whole point of a Paddington Bear movie.

A wonderful bring out the child in you, 4.5/5

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Surprisingly sensual action movie

I am a junk action movie fan, since the 80s but Charlize Theron first caught my attention as a potential heroine action star when I saw Aeon Flux in 2005, a scifi film I enjoyed but wasn't a successful. Hadn't seen her in any starring action film since until now.

Things to enjoy about the movie

1. An eclectic grindhouse style 80s soundtrack

2. Great choreographed long edit "brutal raw" fight scenes (though, slightly sloppy in editing the stooges who are "waiting their turn" to have a go at hacking the heroine) - akin to Netflix's Daredevil, Old Boy (Korean version) and John Wick.

3. Charlize Theron oozing with mature star power presence and sophisticated sexuality.

4. an enjoyably sleazy James McAvoy performance

5. Beautiful camera work and lighting.

6. A surprisingly well executed love story that is tender and sensual. Not a dominating one, but substantial enough to be memorable.

Enjoyed this enough in hope for one or two more sequels.

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Yes its silly but it delivers as much fun as its predecessors.

Well, I am a fan of the fast of furious films. They are wonderfully energetic, funny, entertaining, progressive and delightfully outrageous.

This eight instalment continues the fun while retaining the heart of the "family" which admittedly is soulfully a lesser family without Brian (late Paul Walker's character). But to make up for that, this film breaks the awesome Jason Statham out of jail, and adds a flurry of thespians in Helen Mirren and Kurt Russel to spice up the character play offs. Charleze Theron makes a mark one of the series most evil villain. It is questionable however, having Statham narrative-wise in the team given what he has done in the previous films, though. But his scene stealing scenes makes up for that narrative blip.

Well I say narrative blip but of course the whole film's narrative is silly as usual. The film is one setpiece after another with interludes of "family drama". But that's not the point as the film is full of energy, jokes and outrageous action sequences to quench our thirst for pure high voltage escapism on a Friday night at the movies on your sofa.

Its not the best of the series but its still a fun entry. Its not as slick or classy as some of the better Bond movies or Mission Impossible movies but it sure is full of heart, inventive and its energy is contagious. There is love for fans in its delivery and though it falters sometimes they give it all they got. As a fan, I lap that all up. And if you are a fan too, I hope you enjoy this but dont expect the best entry. Just expect to be highly entertained. And also dont think too much in linking all the dots because not all the dots are there!

I give this 3.5/5 (obviously I had to round that up to 4 as stars as CP dont do half stars)

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Star Wars Rebels: Series 3 Online DVD Rental

Fabulous season with some major developments to tie in with the live action movies

Star Wars Clone Wars animated series was for me the superior saga and dared to tell all its stories, without resorting to kid friendly antiques and dumbing down of dark themes. But with Disney taking over, Clone Wars sadly, came to an abrupt end with unresolved story threads. I so hate when that happens as I feel robbed and screwed over but that's how these things roll with TV networks, so I just had to move on.

Disney then brought to us a very kid friendly first season of Star Wars Rebels which whilst enjoyable for all the family, had too much of a kiddies vibe compared to the Clone Wars. But its Star Wars and the Ghost crew grew on me enough to want more.

Second season came along and it rocked as more and more characters from the beloved live action saga came in and story arc developed. And more important for me, personally, much reference was made to Clone Wars to make me feel that they are encompassing everything in Clone Wars as canon lore to Rebels and even tying up major unresolved threads from it.

And now this third season comes along with tremendous maturity and even concluding unresolved threads from Clone Wars....thank you, Disney...finally, some respect for older viewers! But more importantly, this season heavily bridges the gap that leads to Rogue One and A New Hope. One huge reason for this, of course is that creator/director Dave Filoni worked on both sagas and is delivering the best he can under the new company's constraints (or freedom, whichever way you look at it).

This season is full of excitement and punch the air moments with some of the Ghost crew characters getting their moments to shine. The standout episode for me was a Sabine centric, Trials of the Darksabre and the geekiest satisfaction episode was Twins of the Sun.

The fourth season is said to be the last which is all good with me as the writers will have the opportunity to bring proper closure to a fine animated saga that potentially leads into Rogue One/New Hope.

As usual, the DVD consists of "recon" behind the scenes for each episode which are very informative about each episode's connection with the SW live action/animated/books/games canon.


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Outrageously slapstick and mindless fun but mainly for fans of Caricature Jack

This series has evolved (or devolved depending on the way you looks at it) much in the same way of The Pink Panther series. If one recalls in the first Pirates movie, Captain jack was a supporting character, albeit an outstanding one, lending much comic relief to the main character's (Will Turner) journey. Thereafter, it became the Jack Sparrow show and with each movie, more or less became increasingly slapstick and outrageous in its plotline. Much like with Inspector Clouseau, who started off as a support comic relief to David Niven in The Pink Panther and then consequently became the main star, evolving more and more into a caricature of himself with increasingly silly plotlines.

So you either dig that evolution (devolution) or you dont. Me....I dug them all in their own way.

I really like Captain Jack and still do. Just like Inspector Clouseau, he has become a caricature of himself but they both make me laugh, regardless of the plot and their increasing slapstick.

But I enjoyed the story too in this one, In a way, it feels like a good way to end the whole series too but perhaps that might not be the case, depending on how well the DVD sales are (according to Bruckheimer who actually wants to make more).

You know what you're in for at the start of the film with an outrageously slapstick action setpiece. I have to admit, it was a bit much for me but Jack Sparrow compensated for that.

On the whole its a rollicking action comedy fantasy ride with gorgeous visuals and a nice story to tie up with the first three films but I guess this film is mainly for the fans of Captain Jack Sparrow. But if you tire of the character, or are put off by the increasingly silliness in both plot then this film will not please you!

I give this an enjoyable but silly 6.5/10.

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5 Centimeters Per Second Online DVD Rental

3 Stories. Beautiful ambience. Note English version has slight drawback..details in review

There are three stories here that share the same theme of friendship/love and how distance and time affects relationships.

For me, the first story was the most beautiful and engaging, the second one was lovely but the third one was quite jarring in its narrative.

But I highly recommend this blu ray overall as a beautiful, sometimes satisfying and sometimes poignant experience filled with rich imagery, soul, charm and a narrative that flows with gentle poetic beats.

The English speaking version has lovely voice acting performances faithful to the film's intended ambience so if you prefer to enjoy the visuals fully without having to be distracted with reading subtitles, you will have a lovely experience with the English version. HOWEVER, there is one major problem with the English speaking version. There are no subtitles for the one or two substantial moments in which characters are reading text messages off their smartphone. Only in the Japanese speaking version do you see the text messages. So, in this respect, you might want to stick with Japanese all the way or if you watch the English speaking version then remember to rewind and switch to Japanese to read the smartphone messages. For animated movies, I personally prefer English speaking if voiced well and most of the time, they are, so that I can fully enjoy the character expressions and visuals but I tend to also repeat watch in Japanese because I absolutely love the harmony of Japanese voices, especially female Japanese voices but its at the sacrifice of having to read the subtitles, missing the nuances in the animation.

Director Makoto Shinkai made very similar short films before this, called The Place Promised in Our Early Days and Voices of a Distant Star. If you do seek that out on Cinema Pardiso, the two short films are combined under the title The Place Promised in Our Early Days/Voices of a Distant Star. Also another film by Makato that I recommend if you love these, is "Your Name" which was his most recent movie and is a full length feature.


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