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3 movies in 4 days !!! That’s one way to live your life Now that may be a self inflicted pun (is there a word that describes this better?) but not too distant from the truth.
Readers, its been a rather unannounced leave and to make up for the lost time, I take the opportunity to go through very quickly the last 3 movies I managed to catch it in the big screen. For starters, all of them couldn’t have been any more drastically different to the other. And that’s just one the many good news.
Life Of Pi (3D) – 29.11.12
A coming of age – survival story of an Indian teenage boy who finds himself stuck in precarious circumstances and how his desperate attempt to survive teaches him life lessons and makes him what he is today. Directed by one of my favourite Hollywood story tellers; master director Ang Lee of Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon fame and is based on Yann Martel’s celebrated novel of the same name.
The premise is a well known one, and for the benefit of the ones who are still oblivious to it, I’ll not dwell on the story. But here is a quick guide to who should watch and who shouldn’t:
Watch it - if you liked either or both Shawshank Redemption & Cast Away. Just like these fantastic plots, Life Of Pi at large is a human story that can have multiple interpretations depending upon the viewers perspective and some imagination. Owing to the character driven manner of the plot, the overall narrative speed is a little slow but not as much to bore you or anything.
Skip it – if you’re sleep deprived or have a rather fast paced (no brainer) Jerry Bruckheimer styled action flick in mind.
Verdict - The lead cast is in phenomenal form with special mention to rookie Suraj Sharma & the dependable Indian crossover Irrfan Khan. Cinematography is out of the world with the best usage of 3D you’re most likely to see. Unlike some of its contemporaries, the film makers put it to use with a purpose to narrate a story effectively elaborating on a scale to accentuate its grandeur more than technology to increase ticket prices. On a story level; having read the book a few years back the screenplay is effective in evoking similar emotions that I first had while reading it. That is commendable. However the final act that culminates to the climax of the story felt a bit rushed as compared to the elaborate opening and the sea acts. And that for me diluted the ending ever so slightly. So much so that the spirituality aspect is somewhat convoluted. Nevertheless, the saving grace for the film (in no particular order) are its emotional portrayal by the lead, soulful back ground score, Ang Lee’s direction and the most beautiful cinematography of the year yet. These factors in generous dosages make “Life Of Pi” one of 2012′s best movies.
Recommended. 4 / 5
Here’s some clips and some inside look (whatever that means)
Stallone eventually nails it in his follow up of what was touted to be a second round of the same old buffed up heroes of the yesteryear teaming up more to flex their rippling muscles and have a ball rather than tell a story. The first thing he got right is have Simon West direct it rather than himself. The homage to the 80′s – 90′s flavored action sequences are not only shameless but are taut with adequate dosage of gung ho and mastery over testosterone, garnished with pitch perfect humour between Statham, Li, Lundgren, Schwarzenegger, Willis & Stallone. Keeping in mind these lads are masters at kicking butt, its a task that must have been a lot more difficult to achieve than anyone else would make you believe.
Please do not go expecting state of the art CGI action and a compelling story line. They are not there. But what makes this gun slinger tick is its right balance of absolute mayhem and unabashed attempt to relive the fantasies of the bare knuckles and blown out heads that you and I have grown up watching. There is no dull moment in this one, decimating enemies at a feverish pace adding on to the unsurpassable number of body bags. The new entries in the likes of Chuck Norris & Vandamm do wonders to leave a rather warm aftertaste you may even attempt to try devouring more than once. Arnold has more lines this time and makes no two bones about his age and the notority of how misplaced he thinks he is in the scheme of things. There are plenty of quotable phrases from box office hits of their yore thrown along the screenplay that not only adds to the sarcasm quotient but also fits like a glove. I’ll not spoil those for the interested patrons.
Do yourself a favour. Buy a ticket to “The Expendables” this weekend and ensure you leave your narcissistically critical mind outside. The chances are you would have spent a rather enjoyable (may be the best) 102 minutes at the cinema in a very long time. To me it was one hell of a ride from start to finish punctuated with several moments where I’d giggle uncontrollably.
Ogre Scores : 9/10
For the one’s who’d been living under a rock, here’s the trailer:
Tony Gilroy (screenplay) resume boasts of some notable money spinners in the box office of which The Bourne Series, Armageddon, Proof Of Life, State Of Play & Michael Clayton are the ones we are most likely to remember. He now takes upon himself (with the producers nod ofcourse) the arduous task of writing & directing the newest Bourne story with a few exceptions of course. First of all, unlike the title there is no room for the character in the screenplay hence “legacy” and its a completely new story with an abundant dash of conspicuously similar narrative.
Jeremy Renner who garnered the most attention through Kathryn Bigelow’s “Hurt Locker” after a substantial span of time and work in the industry, gets his first solo lead of an original screenplay in “The Bourne Legacy”. Rachel Weisz is also seen after a while, followed by Edward Norton whose most recent work was Wes Anderson’s remarkably accepted “Moonrise Kingdom“.
The Good: No shaky camera. So for the folks who’d rather spend an evening hoping to catch Jason Bourne in HBO, can opt to make their way to the theater. The build up of the story is very straight forward and not very hard to follow. Although the code names of the gamut of programs and their interpretation can toss your grey around. Jeremy Renner sleep walks through the role as he was expected to but in a good way. Fantastic stunts (mostly the scenes shot in Asia). An exceptionally shot and executed bike chase scene which is longer than most chase scenese these days. (I am not complaining) But no Bullitt or French Connection please.
The Bad: As much as they wanted to sell the idea of a new story, the remarkable similarities in the narrative and treatment of the subject creates a deja vu of sorts, in a mediocre if not bad way. Some characters in the bad camp are too cardboardish. Edward Norton is wasted (I mean he reads such lines in his bathroom).Most often two dimensional facet of the story with lesser twists and turns, tends to leave a little to be desired. It has a rather abrupt climax with little or no room for expectations for the next installment if there is to be one.
Final Verdict : Bourne fans watch it. And as we already have come to know Renner is a great actor but sadly not Matt Damon. Just like Tony Gilroy is no Paul Greengrass (minus the shaky camera) Much like most big budget releases these days, The Bourne Legacy justifies its title but chooses to tread the middle path between “great” and “ok”.
Here’s the sleekly cut trailer + some behind the scenes :
“My heart goes out to all the lost souls and the affected families of the Denver theater shooting incident. The country needs to review their laws relating to arms”.
20th July’12 : Last night The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR) released worldwide after a long wait of 4 years since its widely accepted 2nd installment marking the final chapter of Nolan’s Batman trilogy. It’s fair to say that the man has carved his niche through his past few releases as a terrific storyteller and a complete filmmaker as it is. But with TDKR given the pre release publicities and media hoopla, fans of the superhero and cinema alike are in a state of frenzy with this one. Although I was fortunate to be one of the first one’s to have watched TDK in a special screening before its actual release, there was no such luck with TDKR. But yeah looking back 1st day – 3rd show did fine.Q: How was it? A: It’s a fitting end to the best superhero adaptation of all times. Each pivotal character of the story (which btw is a lot of them) were given enough room in the screenplay to groom and have a fitting ending and trust me its tougher than it sounds. It is a fast paced narrative with lots of things happening. But that doesn’t necessarily equate to a lot of action but more around character and story development. Q. Is it the best of 3? A: No it is not. Its a tough job, the rounding up act and more so when its done on such a large production scale and story. But nowhere did it seem to give the impression the makers were in 2 minds. The writers were in sync with the story so far and every plot and its inherit mini sub plots were rooted to the nature and mood set with its predecessors. I didn’t expect it to top TDK and it didn’t. It set out to stay true to its theme of “chaos” and succeeded emphatically. Q: But is it the biggest of them all? A: Yes most definitely. More drama, more action, more body bags. Twists and turns? heck YES Q: Is Bane better than the Joker? A: No. Not on paper, nor on screen. The theme the Nolan brothers played with in TDK was fear and Joker played an integral part in promoting that aspect to the protagonist(s). Heath’s flawless rendition aside, Bane’s character which is by the way is fittingly enacted by an ever ascending Tom Hardy, is that of a catalyst rather than Batman’s chief nemesis. So in all fairness a comparison is not only futile but ill placed. Q: Best character of TDKR? A: I had the soft spot for Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) all along and this installment only gave it a serious raise. Apart from that, Alfred (Michael Caine) had more words to mouth here and sadly Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) didn’t have tons of scope. The 3 new entries, Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard), Officer Blake (Joseph Gordon Levitt) and Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) all had substantial and meaty roles. All of them dug deep into their written lines adequately overseen by the master himself. Bane’s character with the handicap of having 2/3rds of his face covered at all times (barring one tiny weeny shot) had the most sought after role. Our cape crusader (Christian Bale) was consistent & convincing from start to finish. The fact that it’s deliciously written makes it a tough choice but for just the final chapter alone, I’d say JGL, Hathaway will share the spoils at the top amongst equals. Q: Flaws? (May contain spoilers) A: Introduction of Batman was lukewarm. The punchlines didn’t hit home all the time. No crescendo or big finish in thrills. A few weak scenes considering the expectations. Q: Positives ? (May contain spoilers) A: A 2:45 mins runtime feels like 30 mins. Grandest action movie with a true story and believable sequences minus the usage of mindless CGIs. A fascinating combat dual between Bane & Batman. Fantastic acting. Tantalizing background score. Best Catwoman rendition to date. Plenty of surprise twists and turns. Best end to a trilogy after Return of the King.
Final word? Go and bloody watch it. There is absolutely no excuse for not. The best action movie of the year, hands down. But please don’t expect any oscar noms, barring the slight possibility of Hans Zimmer squeezing through. But I think the Academy is removing original music category, or was it original song? Oh ok may be a slight nod for best sound editing then. Yes almost as good as Inception but no James Newton Howard here.Final score: 4 /5
Some incredible trivia about The Dark Knight Rises can be found here
Here is a look at behind the scenes & interviews. Interesting watch :
Snow White And The Hunstman is the second live action adaptation of the fairytale, released in the last couple of months. Havent watched the first one and I dont intend to either, specially after all I’ve heard and read about it. Cut to the chase, the deliciously edited trailer made me anticipate the Huntsman version and hence caught it at the first opportunity (thursday night).
It is neither awards material nor a cringe worthy half baked attempt, but given the odds, it manages to tick pretty much all the boxes that an entertainer is expected of, along its way. Taut screenplay, well imagined art direction of thoughtful imageries, all adequately supported by a convincing cast led brilliantly by uber evil queen Ravenna, played by Charlize Theron. Such is her prowess in this loathe inducing enactment that one would grimace at the very possibility of coming face to face with this ghastly witch and her self absorbed twisted mind. Chris Hemsworth plays the title role with restrained exuberance ensuring his chiseled chest and arms are covered in muddy tatters throughout its runtime, leaving much of his histrionics stuck to his able facial expressions and grunts as he goes about breaking bones and skulls. Which brings us to Kristen Stewart who lets out the damsel in distress act with a whiff of nonchalance and if I may add, very convincingly so. It is the final act that involves her wielding spears and shields which calls for that extra bit of conviction and I personally felt a tad short changed. The altercation with her nemesis which makes up better part of the climax, although not a David & Goliath proportion, does paint an odd picture when physical attributes are compared. Charlize almost dwarfs the Twilight maiden not just in size but her towering inferno of rage and desperate squeals.
There would be a few who would have liked another leading lady to play Snow White and I see why they cannot be blamed for their opinion. There are a few instances of close up shots where Kristen falls short of what the situation demanded. I’ll make no comparisons with her previous work because I haven’t seen many of them, apart from her role of a diabetic child to Jodie Foster in Panic Room. But as I mentioned before She was consistently brilliant in the first three acts of the narration.
A viewers affiliation to fairytales in general and the story in particular notwithstanding, its a movie I’d recommend to anyone who is looking for a fun ride. If there is a naysayer you ought to pay heed to, its the one who doesn’t appreciate tempering of the original written material. I am not one of them and I enjoyed “Snow White And The Huntsman” and its rather refreshing adaptation from start to finish. Watch this one for Charlize Theron and her palpable “Queen Ravenna”, that should stay with you long after the images fade away and credits roll.
P.S. Don’t miss the awesome soundtrack at the end credits. High 5′s to Florence & The Machine for their “Breath Of Life”. A deserving Grammy nom, earlier in the year.
Here’s the song and the official video. Enjoy
We have all come to expect dark stories with quirky undertones and a special eye for detailed set & art direction when it comes to dream weaver Tim Burton, and his latest offering “Dark Shadows” is no different. Led by his ever dependable and permanent aide Johnny Depp, it tells a tale of lost love, revenge, family drama, transcending across the vampire genre with the 70′s rock n roll culture providing an elaborate backdrop. All in all an exceptional prospect all going in favour of the movie.
But as you can imagine, exceptional prospects does not warrant exceptional cinema and that’s pretty much the case with “Dark Shadows”. The added weight of expectations that a Tim Burton production carries with it eventually weighs this one down to its knees. A rushed screenplay of a fairly straight forward narration falls apart with undercooked sub plots leading to a climax that didn’t answer a lot of questions that were asked during its runtime. I found myself checking the time twice or more during the third act, when the going ons become almost unbearable. It was either that the ordinary viewer didn’t sympathize with the protagonist or worst of all, it just didnt matter anymore. Good cinema is one that demands your attention while gently sweeping you away to a world that the makers wanted you to be a part of. Sadly with all the explicit art direction and well thought props, this one lacks coherence mainly due to a lacklustre story.
The better aspects of “Dark Shadows” is its relatable but few and far between humour and make up (we’ve come to expect both from these guys haven’t we ?). A wonderful cast led by Depp and well supported by Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloe Grace Moretz pulled in a lot of weight with brilliant portrayals of the average written material. The cosmetics of the production is also noteworthy. A linear narration and rather well developed characters means a larger target audience. A story based in the early 70′s almost guarantees a beautiful soundtrack and this is no different here. There is also a tastefully done cameo of a rockstar that augurs well for the music fan
But all that aside. Sadly the ever bankable Tim Burton falters in treating a story that you’ve heard before with dexterity which has been a hallmark of all his previous work. For reasons stated above, a new breed of cinegoers will buy the tickets, which means more than average turn out at the box office. But no one can complain if his ardent fans feel short changed at the end of it all. Depp who is known for pulling off complex and intricate characters must have slept walked through his role with attributes harbouring on single faceted and border line boring. For a story that had so much going for it, its depressive turn of events and a climax that doesn’t do justice to the developments and its liberal takes on misleading sub plots makes its a 2.5 / 5. Make no mistake, there are far worse movies at the cinema today but for a Tim Burton’s production this is well below par. Recommended to anyone with new found penchant for the dark humour.
Burton fans stay away.
So here it is, the 3rd and the most convincing (if that was humanely possible) trailer of the most discussed movie of the decade.
As good as it’s production values are, I wonder who cuts his trailers ? How can they be these darn brain freezingly awesome? The first time I watched “Inception”‘s trailer in the theatre I was convinced that it couldn’t be topped. Well this one pretty much smashes it out of the window and that’s a bloody good thing. Its the same brain behind both. & Dont we just adore the man.
Here’s Christopher Nolan’s version of the cape crusader’s story, in his 3rd and conclusive edition called “The Dark Knight Rises”.
Anyway here we get a glimpse of what’s in store. It’s obviously classical mayhem at its best with slow build-up in the background score leading to its theme hitting crescendo by the time the credits come up. I mean consider a feature with a line up that includes Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and you still await its release for the story and the action. Only Nolan could have done it. & I dont usually count my stars before a movie’s release but this trailer has pretty much left me with no choice.
Damn 13 more weeks to go. How unfair incredibly unfair !!! LOL
P.S. I love how Nolan releases his movies right before his birthday (which I coincidently share with him Go figure LOL
I walked into the theater with very little expectation, besides a dormant penchant of some cheap thrills and chills. But the one thing that kept coming to my mind, while going through the pre-show commercials, was what Total Film called it in one of their past month editions : “reinventing the horror genre“. While that may not mean much or anything at all, my subconscious self was yearning for something interesting, minus the torture gores of Eli Roth and his counterparts, that I detest.
The Cabin In The Woods, through its trailers, shouts out aloud that here is a movie that you’ve seen it all before, and just like what you’ve come to expect by now, we too have twists, and turns and surprises along the way. In the movie though, what does stand apart by almost a telling yard is that, these twists and turns come to life in the narration, a lot earlier than you’d have anticipated and follows a coherent motive of surprising the viewer, the moment conventional wisdom looked to be the order of the day. Drew Goddard and Josh Whedon wrote a good story but the former, directed it even better. The acting was a well oiled support group that left no stone unturned in exploiting every given opportunity at pulling off histrionics, that such scripts provide. Special mention to the Fran Kranz, who I am told has been a regular in Wheddon’s past works. As a nerdy, dope head, his weed act is the catalyst of this experiment and serves the flavour sumptuously with a long ending after taste. There is also no doubt that post Thor and the soon to be released pre-summer blockbuster “The Avengers”, Chris Hemsworth‘s stock price is on the rise. & that will do a world of good, in pulling the Youtube demography into buying cinema tickets for this cabin.
Overall, if entertainment was the yardstick to a film’s success, The Cabin In The Woods, is an assured and comprehensive winner. Its a shot in the arm to the horror genre. It’d be a crying shame if the most cynical follower of such movies would have anything to complain about this one. In my attempt at not giving too much away, I’d just say that the elaborate climax and all the mayhem that the proceedings give into, all mixed at a tastefully timed pace, should keep you glued to the edge of your seats for minutes that seem to be never ending. The humour quotient is immaculately placed in the entire narration and is never used as a tension diffuser. Such was the balance between perception and truth of the premise, that I had people in my cinema guffaw and shriek in the same scene in a matter of seconds. And I consider them both, bloody genuine reactions. As a film enthusiast I can only imagine the kind of fun the makers and everybody involved in the project may have had. Speaking of which. A homage, although sometimes projected as unintentional, has rarely missed my sights. The opening credits have a subtle touch of Tarantino’s flair about them. & the look of the cabin itself and a few other sequences will remind you of Sam Raimi’s original Evil Dead. Now you know what we’re talking
As you can imagine, being compared to past classics that have done their bits in reviving a genre that sometimes produces overdose of solemn and mournful, can be a great thing. There are times when we tend to take going ons far too seriously and forget that its actually just a movie. If you’re one of them, the likelihood of you coming out of the theater feeling shortchanged is very high.So my word of advice, in the words of Mr. S from “School of Rock” is that loosen those hinges on your shoulder, go loosey – goosey, grab your popcorn & soda and find the time to go watch this hilariously frightening piece of work, that has cult written all over it. Look, if not now; than at least in another 10 years perhaps ?
Recommended for the Horror & Thriller lovers. 4/5
Here’s a TV spot :
A red band trailer coz it deserves nothing less
Stifler, Jim, Oz, Finch, Kevin, Heather, Michelle, with Stifler’s Mom & Jim’s Dad from the original are back for a reunion that promises a healthy dose of some embarrassing nostalgia and a trip down to the unabashed lane tastefully garnished with potty humour. Barring the first sequel and “the wedding” version, the name’s been borrowed by a dozens of dishonourable B grade wannabes. But all that’s history now. The class of 99 is here to have some.
On a personal note, this should be one heck of a ride, reminiscent of my mates from school in 99. What a year that was !!!