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Blog posts : "michael pena"

Narcos: Mexico Review - Highly Fascinating!

Starring – Michael Peña and Diego Luna
Created by – Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro
Genre – Crime / Drama
Streaming Platform – Netflix


Advertised as the 'Birth of Mexico's Drug War', Narcos: Mexico introduces us to the rise of the Godfather of Mexican Drug Cartel, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (played by Diego Luna) and the Deathless Empire that he builds amounting to more Drug Lords, Corrupt Police Officers and Government Officials. On the far side, DEA agent Kiki Camarena (played by Michael Peña), portrays the role of an honest and hardworking police officer who decides to challenge Félix and his wrongdoings.


Right after the last episode of Season 2, the anticipation levels for Season 3 dropped comparatively (at least for me) seeing that we lost a charismatic actor in Wagner Moura and an engaging character in Pablo Escobar. So, the entire third season did feel like a letdown and an disappointing aftermath, to say the least. However, amidst of mixed reactions for the promos and the TV spots, Narcos: Mexico delivered and rekindled the second season flair and flavour to full measure.

Contrary to what we've seen in Colombia, this season transpires in Mexico, in a different setting and in a different atmosphere. But, the essence of the show still remains the same, amounting to sex, drugs, violence and money. The description also remains consistent, with a good guy chasing a bad guy, but, since we're introduced to a fresh new storyline, it is compelling to find out next as the screenplay throughout this episodic-series was tight and was apportioned with the right amount of cliffhangers to keep the narrative engaging. 

Although not compatible with Escobar, the series' desperado Félix is, for the most part, merciless and carries greed and gluttony to a great degree. His fascination for more power and more money was portrayed effectively by Diego Luna who succeeds in brings intrigue to his depraved character despite not having a menacing personality. His counterpart, on the other hand, Kiki Camarena played by Michael Peña, is the equivalent of an uber honest cop, and a character who has an emotional build-up with his fellow colleagues and family. This role, in particular, had plenty of moving pieces and Peña skillfully his poignant skills in contrast to other roles we've seen him play in Ant-Man and other comedies.


Overall, Narcos: Mexico adhered to its core formula and delivered an equally impressive and highly fascinating ten-hour drama much like Seasons 1 and 2. If you're a fan of the series or even a "binge-watcher" who never watched an episode of 'Narcos', I recommend you to watch this high-intense drama to familiarize yourself with the Drug Wars between the United States of America and Mexico in the early 1980s.

Rating - 3.5/5 | Grade - B+

-A Just Stream Editorial by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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Ant-Man and the Wasp - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "Dumb Fun!"

Directed by Peyton Reed, Ant-Man and the Wasp is the 20th movie in the illustrious Marvel Cinematic Universe and stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Peña in recurring roles and Hannah John-Kamen portrays the villainous character of Ghost alongside with Walton Goggins.

Facing few repercussions due to his involvement in The Civil War, Scott Lang is in house arrest spending quality time with his daughter and his helping his waggish gang in running a security company. On the other side, Hope and Hank Pym were in a hideout trying to find, explore and create the possibilities of going inside the quantum realm in hopes to find Janet (Hank's wife) who is lost and trapped in the abyss. But, they soon find trouble with the arrival of the Ghost, who has her own agenda when it comes to capturing something significant.

Let's start with the positives, as always, much like every other MCU movie, the action sequences were a delight to watch. They're enough exhilarating scenes sprinkled all throughout the film to keep you entertained despite few storyline issues. Furthermore, the visual effects is another noteworthy positive of the film, as it is amazing to experience the marvel of CGI and the up-and-coming de-aging effect on the silver screen.

Advancing to the characters, the relationship between Scott Lang and his daughter Cassie is once again one of the primary highlights of the film and it is heartwarming to watch them together on-screen. But, Evangeline Lilly as the Wasp is the stand-out character as she had much more delve into in this film and she served as the perfect counterpart for the Ant-Man. 

However, here are the negatives. Back in 2015, in my review of Ant-Man, I openly wrote that I'm not a huge fan of the film's storyline cause it's too ordinary or orthodox for me. Now, with this film, the story felt much more uninteresting, unimportant and overall mundane to watch. You might make a point or even argue that MCU needed a much lighter toned film coming off the chaos of Infinity War, but, if you take this as an individual film or maybe watch it after few years, I'm sure that you'll most probably find it lackluster.

Also, due to the insipid plot, the screenplay also suffered substantially as the writers tried to narrate the story in a perplexing fashion which did not do any favors. The villains were once again disappointing as nothing felt like a serious threat to Ant-Man, Wasp or even Luis. Likewise, Michael Peña's comedic act quickly got stale and unhumorous after a certain point as it carried on hit to the same beats again and again.

Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp felt like the majority of the Marvel films; packed with entertaining action scenes, quick-fire comedy and a minimal intrigue added to the plot. I consider this as dumb fun cause it appealed more to the 8-year old sitting next to me who flabbergasted when the Hello Kitty Pez dispenser came out flying from the back door of a van and I have to say that he started to annoy me after a while with his buddy by screaming and jumping out-of-the-seat several times. Anyhow, back to my verdict, fortunately, there's plenty of fun that you can have with this film but it just felt like an ordinary film which is easily forgettable the next day.

My Rating - 2.75/5 | Grade - C+ (A Decent Flick!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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The Martian - Movie Review

Verdict - "An amazing survival thriller with a great touch of humor."

Who else thought the two-minute trailer of The Martian gave away too much about the storyline of the movie when it was first debuted? Yeah! Include me in the minority of people who hates when trailers give away an excess amount of information and spoils a good part of the movie. But, The Martian is an exclusion, there's so much more in the movie to explore and get ecstatic about.

In the course of their manned mission (Ares III) on Mars, the crew of Hermes led by commander Mellisa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) is hit by a huge storm that makes them leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon) presuming that he is dead. Unexpectedly, Watney survives the attack and was left alone on the red planet that makes him create few ideas about his survival for the next three years until the arrival of the next of Ares IV.

Now, if you're reading my reviews for a while, you know that I focus more on the screenplay. I always loved movies when they are well-paced and executed. Stunningly, The Martian was on the money when it comes to the screenplay, the sense of humor and the comedic aspect of the movie was cleverly executed without holding back the viewer with its stern premise.  

Being aware that it's a survival movie of an astronaut stranded on a dead planet. Director, Ridley Scott made sure that lead character Mark Watney was well developed. The optimistic thinking of his character accompanied with his humor and intellect kept the movie going and moreover, I didn't bother to check my watch for every fifteen minutes. 

Reinforced with a gigantic cast, the performances from every single actor in the movie was outstanding. Matt Damon's representation of his character was a treat to watch along with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kristen Wiig.

Altogether, The Martian was one of the best movies I've seen in 2015 and indeed one of the best Ridley Scott movies we've seen in a very long time. Remember The Counselor and Exodus in 2013 and 14? This man is in a desperate need of a splendid hit and he captured it in a remarkable way. The Martian is certainly a must watch in a theatre and in 3D. I'm sure that you'll love it.

My Rating - 3.5/5 
Grade - B+ (A perfect weekend pick!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Ant-Man - Movie Review

Verdict - "A Fun Little Popcorn Flick!"

At the first impression, who else thought that a movie about Ant-Man would be ridiculous? Most certainly, we all did! But with a stalwart presence like "Marvel Studios" behind it, we can all reach an understanding that everything is in good hands.

Following the origin story of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) as Ant-Man, the movie starts on a critical note with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) trying to prevent his adversary Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from marketing the Yellow Jacket, as he thinks that it's unsafe in certain situations. 

As the story progresses, Pym decides to wind down Darren's ferocity by training Scott as the Ant-Man and organizes a heist to steal or destroy the Yellow Jacket.

Similar to every other Marvel movie,  Ant-Man has few impediments when it comes to setting up a new franchise. At the outset, the story was never exhilarating. Sure! It was simple, understandable and never felt like an ostentatious superhero extravaganza. But I never felt that I'm watching something very distinctive that would've been possible with a tight screenplay. Unfortunately, it felt generic and incredibly predictable.

Then it comes to the characters in the movie. Remember when director David Ayer took the center stage for the Suicide Squad panel at Comic-Con and ranted about Marvel not having commanding villains? Well, he was not wrong! Corey Stall as Darren Cross is horrible in the movie and it's not even his fault. He never seemed like a formidable threat to Pym nor Lang and felt like he was just present to share one liners and create a comprehensive good guy, bad guy drama.

Evangeline Lilly as Hope was a complete surprise in the movie, as her character felt significant and essential for future installments. But the romantic angle between her and Lang appeared to be rushed without any development. Michael Pena, T.I and David were completely astounding in their characters, but the progress and screen presence was quite minimal.

But on a brighter side, the movie had the amusing vibe throughout its run time, the visual effects looked great and the screenwriters made sure that the portrayal of the Ant-Man character on-screen was not silly or stupid by any means.

Overall, Ant-Man was a fun little movie theater experience that will appeal you if you don't take the plot too seriously. The comedy, visual effects and the performances made the movie tolerable to watch, but like I stated earlier in my review it was not stimulating nor distinct and is quite forgettable. 

My Rating - 3.25/5 | Grade - B (Entertaining with noticeable flaws!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) | Ant-Man - Posters and Stills: Click Here

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