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Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
Makes Genisys look like a masterpiece
There are movies that amidst all the schlock have moments or aspects that can indeed be admired. Everything might not fall into place perfectly but they are yet worthwhile viewing experiences. This not the case with Terminator: Dark Fate. The painfully pedestrian title and poster serve as warnings. A mind-numbingly dull and formless film with not one redeeming quality in any department whatsoever.
Terminator Genisys was not too good a film by any means but it was perhaps fun in its own right with a neat plot and characters, commendable acting and CGI action. Dark Fate meanwhile lowers the bar a huge deal. At a time when movies are having to get ever more inventive with their storylines, narratives and treatment of characters, comes Dark Fate with a story so inexplicably a straight rehash of everything we've seen before. Given that the story is the same, are the characters well fleshed at the least? Nope, the new characters are given a couple of minutes to introduce themselves before the action gets going and suffocates all else. Of the returning Schwarzenegger and Hamilton, the former appears far too late into proceedings to save the mess, and the latter while given a handful of things to do is a pale shadow of the person in the originals. Okay, characters themselves might be stale but how about their interaction and engagement with each other, anything refreshing? Nope, the dialogue exchanged between the characters is bland and uninspired, with little aside from variations on "We can't stay here" and "We have to keep moving". Early on friction between characters is hinted at but instead of capitalizing on it and using it to infuse the story with tangible tension and angst the script stays kindergarten and leaves it to the action sequences. This is an action movie, is the action any good? Not one bit. From tired re-imaginings of terminators from the originals to quick cut shaky cam and a noisy incomprehensible background score, the fight scenes are forgettable. No sense of tension or danger just a lot of bullets and running.
I'm genuinely surprised that the director of Deadpool directed Dark Fate. The complete lack of pacing, cohesive editing, shockingly basic cinematography, and the fundamental absence of tone throughout all give in to a B movie at best. This is a movie without vision or scope. There is no beating heart. Aside from a couple of lines courtesy of Schwarzenegger there is not a hint of humor. And the ending attempts a show of selfless sacrifice and redemption but with all the mush that comes before it, it all falls flat.
Scorcese, I wonder, if Marvel itself is not cinema then where does that leave Dark Fate?
Nothing new, yet compelling.
How much does a movie's originality in terms of storyline play into it's ultimate, overall quality? Should a film be seen only in terms of the movies that have come before it?
From it's title and poster to the actual film itself, Kodachrome sets itself up to be THAT kind of a road trip movie. The kind that features Hollywood jaw lines gazing into the setting sun as your quintessential bright red convertible speeds through a quiet countryside. This is accompanied with that melodious Indie track that rounds out the scene. Kodachrome is most definitely about something; it has meaning, it has purpose. The performances are affecting. The direction is largely unobtrusive and contents itself with letting the script do all the talking, exuding a tenderness that pervades and persists throughout the entire film.
Yet, all of these accomplishments are left denied by the aforementioned screenplay which not only resorts to a fundamental premise that is unoriginal but dialogue that routinely divulges into the perceived cliches of the 'road trip' movie. Characters repeatedly break into melancholy monologues about love, life and art, making biting observations on the human condition. From afar, the plot unfurls predictably and there is nary a moment where the viewer is surprised. Also, as a movie where the narrative is driven by the praise for tradition film format and analog technology, and despite having been aptly shot in 35mm film, photography as an art form itself does not play a more central role in dictating the nature of the storytelling. Given it's narrative simplicity, the experience could have been unique if the origins and vitality of preserving the old art form were entwined into the story, serving as an effective case for the preservation of the film format.
While these are my qualms with the movie, there is no denying that it is constructed with care and an eye for detail that could easily have been left out. The characters are fairly well realized through whom the movie commendably balances the humour with the drama. The performances manage to convey the gravity of the story and the simple confidence with which the movie progresses is sure to engage most viewers. Ultimately, Kodachrome stands as an undemanding, welcoming road trip movie; you won't feel new feelings, but you will revisit old ones, much the same way you might look at some personal Kodak photograph of old.
Better Watch Out (2016)
Better not seen
This is what happens when the entirety of your movie is based off of a gimmick; it's one thing to give an engaging new spin to a genre concept and quite another to play your forced contrivances for supposed shock value.
There are fine home invasion thrillers like Don't Breathe(2016) that while engaging in a different take on the genre trope, still manage to stay true to the spirit of the genre, delivering the much needed thrills in good measure. This misfire of a movie, Better Watch Out however, is one that is so pleased with it's little twist that it forgets to invest in anything that is remotely honest or earnest to make it a worthwhile viewing experience.
The lacklustre start does not do the movie any favours but just as things seem to be settling in, it's all thrown out for a plot twist that from the very moment of inception robs the story of any suspense or thrill whatsoever. From this great twist onwards, the movie becomes an exercise in stringing together one implausible scenario to another, each one trying vying for that highly sought after shock value.
When movies of this genre work, they work because they successfully manage to place the viewer in the protagonist's shoes, and in doing so generate the dread and suspense that drew audiences to it in the first place. Better Watch Out throws that all out the window, failing to invest in atmosphere, juxtaposing jarring scenes with cheery, melodious Christmas carols that much like the film itself, elicits a chuckle at first but soon runs out of steam. In the handful of scenes that the movie tries to humanize any of it's characters, it only feigns poignancy.
The acting by everyone involved is commendable and the pacing is fine as well.
At the end however, not only does the story resort to a plethora of plot conveniences, in all it's showyness it forgets to let the viewer in on the fun. Having your maniacal lead jive to jovial music, is no fun; it just propagates the tonal mishmash of genres and tricks. For a movie that is supposedly a comedy, horror, thriller feature, this one trick pony was far from funny or thrilling, just endlessly nihilistic, a repugnant mess with a sour after taste that you'll want to wash off as quickly as possible.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)
Kingsman: The Frantic Sequel
Why did the first movie work? It worked because THAT movie was conceptualized and executed as a parody to all spy films that came before it, surprising us by juxtaposing the irreverence in the plot with actual character moments that served the gravitas required to bring the entourage to life.
In this second outing, the frenetic nature of the action remains intact, but in fleshing out it's own universe, the movie gives up its predecessor's singular ability to poke fun of the quintessential spy film; sacrificing the meta nature of the plot and resorting to a random nature of plot progression.
Comparisons with the original momentarily put to rest, The Golden Circle is a wild wild ride with interesting(if underused)new characters and creative(if messy)action set pieces. It's fast paced with amusing dialogue interspersed whenever our titular characters are not landing blows at each other.
We waste no time in catching up with Eggsy and the story gets going right off the bat. Over the next couple of hours we're treated to some interesting cameos by top billed actors, with barely veiled call backs to the best parts of the original. For better or worse, it is in these moments of nostalgia that the The Golden Circle is at it's best. Taron Egorton and Colin Firth put in fine performances continuing their characters' interplay from the first movie.
For all the things it does right, it ultimately misses the mark. The wayward plot lends to an incoherence that betrays any suspense, and the bursts of gleeful abandon do so at the expense of having any real stakes whatsoever. The bombastic music that accompanies every action sequence plays fervently and frequently enough until it devolves into an overbearing mess. Where Samuel Jackson's Valentine was a great tongue-in-cheek villain, Julian Moore's Poppy is campy and bizarre at best.
To conclude, Kingsman The Golden Circle is a fun riot with the simple fault of becoming the very movie that the original attempted to parody. Wild and loud enough to hold your interest but not nearly nuanced and nimble enough for you to care.
War? Huh...? What is it good for...? Absolutely nothing!
The final film in the Planet of the Apes trilogy is a fairly fitting send off to Caesar and his kind. The first film was a stellar reinvention of this age old franchise, and the second continued in its wake, while bringing with it greater emotional stakes and a visceral intensity.
In terms of tone and atmosphere, this final film follows its predecessor, which lends to a depth and sincerity unadulterated by needless quips and one-liners that have now become characteristic of summer blockbusters. With this earnestness comes a tonal balance and a self-confident narrative structure.
With that said, War for the Planet of the Apes is slow paced, almost to a fault. I found this to be one of the more perplexing aspects of the movie; it would more often than not slow down to an absolute crawl. And what was more unsettling was the manner in which these slow, essentially character building moments were not evenly placed throughout but were instead played out consecutively. This slowness is not merely an attribute of the narrative but of the physical movement of the characters. I honestly believe that if the first half was sped up to 1.25 times it's actual pace, the movie would have benefited gravely. As it stands the adamant slow pace of the movie only seems to draw attention to itself, claiming right to great 'moments' without having earned them.
The story was alarmingly simple. Caesar's personal storyline was hefty, but the rest seemed more a series of happenstance than an intricately plotted extravaganza. Caesar and his squad are well explored, but the human soldiers are dispiritingly alienated, which it's predecessor knowledgeably avoided. There is one character in particular who was highlighted multiple times but remained as unfamiliar at the end, as at the beginning. The little girl introduced had one of the more affecting scenes of the movie and added a lot of heart to proceedings.
By far the greatest aspects of the movie are it's CGI and cinematography. The CGI surrounding the motion capture is flawless and immediately arresting. In the same vein, the cinematography(also CGI enhanced) is breathtaking. Shot after shot, the visuals are spellbinding and bring the world to life in vivid detail. The 3D was beautifully handled, which is a rarity despite advances in the movie watching experience. These reasons alone make this movie one to catch on the big screen.
SPOILERS AHEAD- Having discussed the film overall, I am wont to divulge into a couple of specifics. It's only obvious that every thing that transpires in this universe, is because of the actions of James Franco's character from the first movie. Considering this, I was personally keen on having him referenced in this film; it would have been immensely gratifying to have had Caesar affectionately recall his long gone human friend, who made him what he is today, and draw from this recollection, the honest truth that not every human is a lost cause. Also, it was anticlimactic to learn that there was no real "war" in the third act of the film, and as genuinely curious as it is to have the war for the planet of the APES be fought by and amongst humans themselves, the incredulity of the circumstances of the apes' escape already apparent, are driven further home with that dues ex machina- esque avalanche that conveniently buries the entirety of the human army and leaves the apes unscathed, trees or not. The abandoned tunnels mere inches below the prison camp are an absurd inconvenience, more so the idea that merely pushing against the roof of the tunnels opens sudden gaping holes on the surface; surface that has to have been trampled on by humans and apes alike. The film consistently suggests that the soldiers guarding the camp are horrifyingly incompetent, repeatedly failing to identify trespassers/escapees. The little girl makes it into and out of the camp without breaking a sweat, her return journey successful despite the "team" that was sent to "sweep" the area. A hundred apes disappear at night, and it takes ONE of the soldiers until morning to even have a clue. Despite being prepped for the arrival of the rival human army, the camp is aware of their arrival only after the enemy has drawn first blood. Individually, these events can be appreciated, but their punctuality reeks of convenience. END OF SPOILER
All in all, War for the Planet of the Apes is a visually stunning film, commendably scored and ably acted, even if it is lacking in the finer details of plausibility and scope.
The Leftovers (2014)
Just a great show
I can think of no other show, which in it's second season premiere, can be so bold as to open with a seemingly unrelated scenario in a prehistoric age, for a solid ten minutes, and furthermore, only return to just one of the main characters from the first season almost forty minutes into the hour long episode.
The strongest asset of The Leftovers was in ensuring that we may never fully deduce the exact nature of it's storytelling. The first and second seasons perpetually keep the viewer in the dark as to the kind of story being told, with the narrative swinging ever so deftly between realistic, surrealistic right through to bat-sh*t crazy. It is a mystery hardly in terms of its primary premise but in its decidedly oscillating portrayal of the rules of its world. There are many TV shows that fall under the mystery genre, but very few are truly mysterious, and The Leftovers is one of them.
The first season though sombre and unrelenting, is admirable in just how confidently it deprives the viewer of a conventional narrative. The characters introduced and thus developed all make for a solid, if not exciting, first season. The show really takes off in the second season, with everything from the opening credits to the music and cinematography vamped up to intoxicating levels, bringing a much needed vitality to proceedings amidst the show's observations on the nature of religion and dogma, and the variety of ways functioning individuals of society can find coping mechanisms in times of hardship.
Though the second season finale was uncharacteristically indulgent for its standards, the show picks it right back in season 3. With most of the rules set, the final season sets about slowly bidding farewell to all the characters. Having provided vivid commentary on religion, paranoia and loss in its first two seasons, the show dutifully turns its attention to the characters' story lines. With the season finale we are given an emotive and thoughtful conclusion to the story, with a layer of ambiguity over the Departure still intact, in tune with the series' identity.
The Leftovers boasts a great cast, direction and writing. The characters are palpable and the story is constantly bizarre but never contrived. Justin Theroux and Carrie Coon both give powerhouse performances throughout. The dialogue and interplay between characters is intimate yet representative of our society's psyche. It is bold in its treatment and subversion of viewer expectation; it is unlike most TV shows today. Thoughtful, mysterious and wildly inventive, The Leftovers is top tier, holistic television.
A funtime movie
LIFE is a bumpy little thrill ride, much like the actual thing itself. With a small but top notch cast and a deviously menacing creature to boot, the movie is able to sustain interest and a sense of emergency despite resorting to certain genre tropes in order to keep the story going.
While the movie does take of slowly(no pun intended), it is able to establish tangible distinctions between its characters and convey a sense of purpose for each. The groundwork thus laid pays off handsomely when the thrills come running, and additionally, character deaths have more of an impact. Point being that the movie respects its characters enough to sketch them out before slashing them to pieces.
The evolution of the creature and its design were all very interesting. The little thing has a commendable screen presence and was as well fleshed out as most characters, which I would say is a good thing for this movie. I only wish the mystery as to the full capabilities of the creature had persisted throughout the runtime, instead of the mystery of its powers sizzling out to the game of hide and seek that finally ensues.
As with most movies, the movie squanders its potential in the final act, and while it isn't in any way bad, it does not at all help with giving itself a unique tone, theme or feel from other movies of the same genre. Another unremarkable aspect was the score, which is a very important tool in helping the movie find a vibe and signature entirely its own. Instead of utilizing silence or minimalist sounds to heighten the suspense and isolation that the characters felt, generic blockbuster music is busted out repeatedly for entire set- pieces, which while initially being effective soon turns cumbersome.
Ultimately this is a fun movie with acting and effects that fit the bill, and a vitality that defies the movie's best attempts to sabotage itself, and shines through for an end result that will leave you smiling.
Jason Bourne (2016)
Both benefits and suffers from 'More of the same'
This latest and possibly(but not probably) final installment in the Bourne franchise continues along the lines of its predecessors. Bourne is back and continues to pursue the secret of his past, wrecking havoc along the way. This similarity to the original trilogy both enhances and detracts from the enjoyment of this movie.
Having seen portions of Supremacy and Ultimatum, and enjoying them, I watched the entire of Identity with high expectations, and I have to admit, they weren't entirely met. I felt that while the hand to hand combat was impressive, the rest was more akin to a generic spy movie. Going into "Jason Bourne", I lowered my expectations, coming to terms with the action-centric nature of Bourne films.
The reason this movie exists and the reason news of its making was greeted with general excitement was because the Bourne films have always been captivating, and more of it would always be welcome. The idea was to show Bourne in his routine yet again; on the run. And this was successfully accomplished. The problem arises in that while Bourne is doing what he does best, the story around him is also precisely the same. Much like Star Wars Force Awakens, Jason Bourne fails to be creative in the story department.
The action though competent through most of the movie, takes a turn for the worse towards the end. The background score is intense, but its repetitive use turns cumbersome. The direction was definitely energetic and zany. Damon does a fine job, as does Alicia Vikander.
Spoilers ahead- While I found Bourne's actions short of exposition and reasoning, the one moment I really "rooted" for him would be when at the end, he viciously pulls the hat from under Heather, giving in to the end credits with Extreme Ways by Moby playing. A slick stylish last scene that brought back the character's smarts amidst the punches. End of Spoiler.
All in all, Jason Bourne is entertaining, but just about so. It's story is recycled and it's characters are largely one note. The script is swift and action intense. This is fair game with the potential to have been so much more.
The first two installments in this series were if nothing else enjoyable. The first one, in fact, was well acted and directed, with a satisfying plot and held its own. The second which did have a wayward plot and a messy script was still salvaged by the acting and the cgi-fuelled set pieces which were cool to look at. But this movie fails in every possible aspect.
Firstly, let's consider the acting, Shailene Woodley who was the most stellar aspect of the previous movies, is extremely dull and lacklustre. She seemed completely disinterested throughout the movie. The script didn't require her to do anything more than recite a handful of lines but she did engage the screen only periodically. Her character who is shown to be strong and defiant previously, turns into this mute easily-manipulated by stander who does very little in this installment. Theo James as Four, however, I felt performed decently well with what he was given, even if he still grumbles most of his lines. Jeff Daniels and Naomi Watts arguably manage to fit the bill of their generic and plain characters.
The CGI, which has been a plus point of this series so far, is squandered in this one, with the surrounding green scene being glaringly visible in several scenes. From a visual concept and set piece point of view, something that Insurgent did manage to execute well, this one once again falls short. With the acting already poor, we do not even have some eye candy visuals to enjoy.
Now, the plot. Convoluted and poorly unraveled. Nothing seems to make sense. Character motivations are inconsistent with previous installments and seem to change with the requirement of the script. Whatever exposition is provided is achingly plain and vague spurring endless questions about a variety of plot points, so much so that they threaten to put whatever sense the preceding movies made in much jeopardy.
SPOILERS AHEAD- Here are some questions and oddities with the regard to both certain nagging minutia and also larger plot points which completely spoil the overall experience of the movie. The wall climbing scene early on in the movie, which while having been the best actions sequence, was still annoying. Tris is running from the wall to the generator which is powering the fence/wall, three vehicles full of men are shooting at her but their aim as required, is pathetic. Four, who unlike Tris, isn't even running, is also untouched. Soon after, atop the wall, the group decides to begin celebrating their victory prematurely with only Tori returning fire and staying rooted in the gravity of the moment, and as inevitable she gets shot and dies. Why? Why would these characters behave SO very oblivious to the danger at hand. Having been 'rescued' by the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, they're shown the poorly rendered video clip explaining 200 hundred years worth of history. So, genetic mutation in humans was introduced and people were divided on this and then they fought and destroyed most of the world? Some select pure individuals formed the Bureau and the rest died/or were placed in the Chicago experiment to gauge if they were 'curable'? For 200 years? They ran a massive experiment to find if a pure human was possible from among the 'damaged' individuals? From what I see, the life that the damaged lived inside the wall was a much more civilized and peaceful society until Tris wreaked havoc in the first movie, while outside the wall, people seem to be living in a wasteland. So I'm supposed to understand that the 'pure' people set up a massive civilized city for the 'damaged' while themselves living in a barren landscape fighting people at the fringe??? Even the Providence was a tiny area of fairly futuristic looking infrastructure. It is later revealed that David wants funding for his project. Funding? Funding for? For reinstating the factions by wiping the minds of the people of the city? But he did just that without having received funding from the providence, didn't he?? So was it funding for renovation of his own floating castle home at the Bureau? And back in Chicago, Joana sees that Evelyn is killing people that worked for Jeanine, so she, the Wise one, decides it is time to divide whatever people are left, in half and have them fight each other to the death?? And then that gas. That gas which is supposed to be inhaled but is so heavy that it harmlessly settles down at feet level, giving ample time for the warring people to run up a flight of stairs. Evelyn gets shot by Peter in the back/leg, but clearly doesn't seem to have any injury when shown from the back. Tris shooting the ventilation system through the wall absolutely the weakest resolution to the conflict. And magically, the gas recedes quickly and all those people who had previously been fighting each other to the death, come out of the buildings all smiles and happy, some even smiling and pointing at God knows what. So absurd.
Overall a very disappointing and frustrating mess that reeks of ignorance on the part of the filmmakers who seem to have concluded that they can string up any random events in a dystopian setting amidst a bunch of teenagers aided by mediocre visual effects and some set pieces. Hopefully, with the change of director, the final movie will be better.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Cohesive and fun
Civil War is among the best additions to the Marvel Universe. It is quite easy to notice that Marvel movies have been getting progressively darker and more thematically diverse. And this is for the better since it all adds up to being more than mere macho men throwing punches at each other.
First off, Capt. America and Iron Man. That these two have had a borderline conflict since the very beginning of their collaboration is very well known, and here we see them up in arms over the manner in which they must function, now that Shield has collapsed and the Avengers have literally no one to answer to. A very compelling aspect of this movie is the way the different viewpoints of the Capt. and Iron Man are allayed to each other and to the viewer. Points made by both sides are potent and definitely need more debate and deliberation, which is precisely what the Avengers don't seem to have time for, considering that there are men out to seek glorious revenge(Read Zemo). On the one hand Iron Man is right in that it is unreasonable to think that the Avengers, as righteous as they might think they may be, have no one to answer to, and so it is their duty as a force committed to saving humanity, to sign the accord and make known their allegiance with the Governments. On the other hand, Capt. too is right in that by submitting to be monitored by the UN, the Avengers lose their ability to take on crucial operations due to their being ramshackled in the quintessential political propaganda and such; and thus the Avengers could end up being a mere tool in the promotion of said propaganda. Furthermore, the Captain's POV can be understood in that his having witnessed the failure of Shield has convinced him that the Avengers are most effective when in charge of their own matters.
So with this well fleshed out exploration of conflicting idealogies explored in what was a good, but not great first half, the movie knocks itself right out of the park in the latter. The second half has an exciting mix of comic exaggeration and dramatic exploration of themes and characters. The Airport fight scene is, while I concede hardly a practical realistic battle in that a group of "fashionably dressed" super-people happen to chance upon a conveniently deserted airport and fight each other while actually enjoying themselves while consistently smart-talking is well, possibly frown-inducing, yet one of the most exciting action sequences in CBMs, with hilarious exchanges between the many characters. The whole sequence breathes goofy gleeful cherry blossoming abandon, and is after all a coming together of all our favourite superheroes and their collaboration in riding on each others' abilities to execute great action sequences. Ant-man and Spiderman were simply great.
Post the Airport scene, the Capt-IronMan-Bucky showdown in Russia has surprising dramatic heft for a Marvel movie. The plot twist that it provides us adds for a searing intensity in the fight scene that follows, all with the character motivations, if not justifiable, definitely understandable.
All in all, Civil War was brilliant in that it combined all the elements of the summer blockbuster that we have come to expect, as well as providing us a fairly commendable foray into the political and emotional conflict that arises out of being a superhero. There is a lot of fun to be had here, but of course you're going to have to concede that it is after all a comic book movie. The Russo brothers have done a great job in adding whatever 'realism' is possible in a world with alien gods, green monsters, computer-humans, insect men and what not. From a filmmaking standpoint these kind of movies may not hold for much, but that's precisely the point, they exist not for technical prowess but for the, shall we conclude, glory of cinema.
Definitely different but hardly better
This has been among the most hyped movies to have hit the screen recently. The trailers and commercials were very indicative of a hilariously rendered action flick. And for the most part, it delivers. It's different, wacky and cheeky, in that it is very conscious of itself as a superhero movie, and it exercises this to the fullest. The story and villain however, are disappointingly mundane.
The central performance by Ryan Reynolds is perfect; he effortlessly captures the essence of Deadpool, portraying him with the requisite quirk and gleeful abandon. The music is another entertaining aspect of the movie and complements the adjoining scenes wonderfully. The movie is funny right at the get-go, the opening credits was definitely the funniest and most innovative introduction to a movie, and is sure to have everyone in splits.
The beginning of this movie is about the only time it's able to be consistently funny, starting with the opening credits and the car chase/shooting sequence. Post the first 20 minutes however, things take a turn for a worse in these poor transitions to Deadpool's past which act as a sudden mellow to the intensity of the opening action scene. We're then subjected to the quintessential romance that I felt was largely unsatisfying, for as much as Deadpool The Movie detests conformism and cliché, it was unable to do anything new with its half baked romance in the entirety of its runtime. The story hardly progresses in the first half, because it only orchestrates a lot of catching up on the part of the viewer. The origin story was already quite clear from the amazing trailers, and so it oddly felt like a retread. Also, the trailers featured almost all the funniest lines in the movie, so there impact in the movie itself was alarmingly shallow, what with the absence of any MORE funny scenes with the exception of a couple in the latter half of the film.
The action too was quite standard, with no real off the chart sequences, barring possibly the initial scene. The story, as I already stated, was conventional comic book-esque fare. In the second half, the film picks up, since it focuses on the present and does not waste anymore time on the ramblings of the past. The humour once again finds its place and the action hits the crescendo, all to once again collapse to a lacklustre climax. The villain, lest I forget, seemed more akin to being the second-in-command to a villain, and was hardly menacing.
One last aspect I'd like to dwell upon is the character development. It's safe to say that this movie has very little to no character development at all. There is also little to no back story for the two funny, but disappointingly inconsequential X-Men in the film. Deadpool's love interest too, is hardly explored.
So all in all, this movie has a great wise-cracking comedian in Deadpool, for I wouldn't call him a hero. There are a plethora of ingeniously funny scenes, betrayed ONLY by there revelation in the trailers themselves. The story is dull and generic, something that the movie claims so hard to detest. The villain and the romance are half baked.
So that's what this is, a comedy with action to complement. If you're looking for plot, character development arcs, "romance", or even an immediacy or urgency of knowing something is at stake, that you're familiar with in other comic book movies, you'll find yourself disappointed. It's apparent that it is receiving a lot of love from viewers which most likely is driven by the insane amount of hype created by the trailers to the movie. For if we were to keep the laugh riot aside, it would be quite apparent that its current rating of 8.7 on IMDb, is exaggerated. Go in with lower expectations and you'll definitely be entertained, if nothing else.
The Force may be awakened, but its still in a daze.
The Force Awakens is fun and action-packed, if derivative, entertainment. It pays several homages to the original trilogy and introduces new characters, most of which are interesting. The story, as many have mentioned, is a rehash of Ep. IV, V, VI, to varying degrees, but I won't be stressing on that in this review since it's been validly stressed upon already. The CGI of course is great, and while it isn't used to add any new landscapes or settings, it does justice to the pre-established worlds of star wars. The background score is competent. I believe the acting has never been a forte of the Star Wars trilogy. Barring, Luke Skywalker there isn't really much in the way of brilliant 'acting' as opposed to mere 'reacting' to various situations and dangers. This is not to say that Darth Vader wasn't a villain of epic proportions, nor does it take away anything from the charismatic hero that was Han Solo, the only point being, that these characters were brought to life by brilliantly engaging story arcs, intelligent dialogue and individual peculiarities; Darth Vader's ominous voice, and Han Solo's rebellious charm. Yet, these have less to do with the more conventional sense of great acting; in the potent expression of emotions and thoughts, as wide as they may be. Heath Ledger's terrific performance in The Dark Knight is universally lauded, just as Jack Nicholson's in The Shining; that is the acting that levels great. And that is why, the acting in TFA does not specifically surprise me, it is only more of the same. The acting is good enough to serve the purpose.
I don't think anyone has to be convinced to watch this movie, because all nostalgic fans of old will definitely flock to the theatre to relive their childhoods and younger generations will be attracted to this simply due to the overwhelming hype around the film, so instead of writing a review of why one should or shouldn't watch this film, I'd rather discuss what this film IS. I believe this movie is the bait, by which Disney is sizing up the audience that will stay loyal to it in the sequels sure to come. It adopts the role of passing on the baton, so to speak. Eclipsing the prequels, this movie is the first real visit to Star Wars in over 30 years and hence admittedly, there must be adequate portions of remembrance both in visuals and in sentiment, of what made the first trilogy so great while pleasantly setting up new story arcs and characters. This movie gives us a taste of the breadth of stories and character arcs that are inevitable in the movies to come.
SPOILERS SPOILERS- I say this because the movie does not really have any exposition for particulars like- WHAT happened to the happy ending that was 'Return of the Jedi'? HOW and when did the 'First Order' come into existence? WHAT were the circumstances under which Rey was left abandoned on a desert planet? WHAT specifically led to Kylo Ren being seduced by the Dark side? WHY does the map to Luke even exist, if his location was after all supposed to be undisclosed?? WHAT Force after all, has been awakened?WHY did a hibernating R2D2 suddenly spring to life and save the day after years of being inactive? HOW did Rey, while being prisoner at Kylo's ship brainwash a guard to set her free, without the least bit of training? And for that matter, why would Kylo leave a single guard to watch over his most valued prisoner, and also, after she is set free, how is it that the stormtroopers are unable to locate her via cameras aboard the ship? Do they really NOT have any cameras on board despite all the amazing technology they have? HOW is Rey able to battle and defeat a Sith Lord mere hours after learning that she might have the Force within her?
It is questions such as these, that are left unanswered, and while it does provide much fodder for the sequels, it leaves the movie itself achingly short of depth and clarity.
END OF SPOILER
Kylo Ren was an intriguing villain upto the point at which he takes off his mask for no real reason. Finn was occasionally funny but not too real. Poe seemed like a great lead character but he was under used. Han Solo was good. Rey, however was the best of the crew in that she seemed to have an interesting backstory while also playing an important role in the progression of the movie itself. The action sequences are reminiscent of the those from the OT, and are well done.
All in all, TFA is great nostalgia-fun for hardcore fans and laidback-fun for the rest. If only it brought some closure to even a couple of the questions that it leaves unanswered, it would have benefited gravely. And had it dared to venture new plot lines, of course.
The Giver (2014)
The Giver is based on a 1993 novel by Lois Lowry, and I believe, it is definitely among the best book to movie translations in recent history. As we are all very well aware, there is an almost tiresome influx of YA dystopian novels that for the most part, are mere cash grabbing franchises that feed of the wonder off of adolescence, a time when the young transcend into adulthood and are faced with several conundrums and questions as to their purpose, ambitions and their very identity in society. The Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, The Host, and other such series come to mind. Contrary to the portrayal of both society and teen angst, The Giver is much less of a 'blockbuster' motion picture in that it does not feature big guns and fight scenes, nor does it have any sudden(and absurd) twists and turns to throw the viewer off balance. There is no hero, there is no villain and there is no traitor. There are just people. People who are prone to make every mistake possible, but also maybe rectify these mistakes, if only they were given a chance.
This more subdued and less outlandish representation of Dystopia, has apparently baffled critics because they seem to be unable to grasp this sudden and drastic change from the conventional YA dystopian lore that they are so used to that they have misunderstood the purpose and intent of this movie, so far as claiming that it is a less ambitious and mundane tale of teenage problems. Browsing through reviews in RottenTomatoes, I was appalled to see that some critics immediately dismissed the movie with opening statements simply like "Another YA Dystopia", "Hunger Games spin off" and "Teenager out to save the world". I understand that there are many movies based on the premise of dictatorships and oppression of the masses and the simultaneous coming of age of some good teenagers along the way, but it is very unfair to dismiss The Giver, because it is definitely different in message and execution, to THG. Every crime movie has a crime, criminal and cop, every comic book movie has a superhero, villain and a world to save, but do we accuse that crime thriller of having a murder, claiming it is so predictable and just so mundane in that all crime stories have murder/murders?Extremely absurd isn't it? Do we accuse hardly ANY of the many many superhero movies that are frankly crowding the world way more than YA Dystopia, for starring the cliché charismatic hero and his love interest, and the villain with a charisma all his own and a purpose so blatantly half-cooked and absurd? How different are The Avengers, The Winter Soldier, and Guardians Of the Galaxy, really? There are heroes who have small fight scenes for most of the movie, with the final mega battle being fought over a city with the mothership hovering above, only to be ultimately destroyed, thus saving mankind for the umpteenth time in the most generic manner. Yes, that is all there is to these comic book movies if we really strip them bare, the very way many critics and other, may I say, adults, collectively describe any and all YA features. So let us stop this unfair bashing of YA movies and books, merely for a passable similarity in concept. Judge it on its OWN merit.
This movie had all the elements for a heartfelt and honest rendition of the world created in the book. There were several alterations to the book itself, but I felt all the changes added to the world building very well and brought a sliver better characterization in the movie, while not affecting the profound themes that the book explores. The interweaving of the memories brought forth by the Giver, and the stark, colourless portrayal of the world itself, was handled with clarity and care. By far the montage of real pictures that showcased life as it is in today's world were among the most affecting aspect of the movie, urging the viewer to realise, reflect and remember what it means to be human, and how there are so many things to look forward to, despite how troubled things may seem. The acting by the entire cast was perfect(except for Taylor Swift, that is). Of course there were a couple of scenes in the book that I wished were depicted in the movie, but their absence in no way hampered the movie itself. The visuals were pleasing to the eye and the background score was near brilliant.
The Giver is among the most thought provoking and heartfelt movies to permeate the genre we have so heavily discussed above. It is strong and daring, without being inappropriate or disturbing in clear acknowledgement to the very source material and the obvious audience that will most easily lap this sort of cinema up. I read the book last night and watched the movie today, and so the memory of the book was of course very vivid. It very powerfully completed and brought a sense of wholeness to the world created in the book. In terms of world building, concept and thematic exploration it is faithful to the book, and any complaints with regard to this aspect are again unfair since this would not be the fault of the "YA dystopian" movie itself, but instead be because of the viewer's dislike of the material in the book itself, in which case the disappointment should be, in truth, with the book and not really the movie.
All in all, The Giver is a fine, fine film, the viewing of which will no doubt be complimented by a quick read/re-read of the book, so as to appreciate the themes explored to the full extent possible. Competent acting, direction, background score and visuals with an obvious love for its source material, this is good cinema, that deserves much more praise than it is being meted out.
Unbreakable is a slow-paced, bizarre mystery/superhero movie. The acting by the two leads is good, especially by Willis. The score, I believe is the best thing about the movie; it is simultaneously soaring and grim. The camera work/direction is intriguing at first, but the repeated experimenting with weird camera angles and positions doesn't add anything to the story and only highlights the fact that we're watching a movie. The concept is where the movie really loses track though.
SPOILERS AHEAD The movie expounds on a scenario in which one man learns he has superpowers, and tries to depict how this might play out, realistically, in today's society. What it fails to realise is that the inclusion of superpowers immediately nullifies any possibility of the proceedings being plausible. And so, the movie takes itself way too seriously. As a result, the movie is neither an exciting superhero movie with outlandish yet entertaining characters and situations, nor is it a believable character study on real world human beings; the movie therefore ultimately treads the line between the two, with mediocre outcomes. First out, the beginning to the movie was good and interesting, with the train crash bringing much intrigue over Willis' character's possible 'unbreakability'.
I first felt the movie began to go downhill when the Samuel L Jackson character(Elijah) was introduced on screen, because in the first of many monologues he says something along the lines of " I believe comics are a window to history.." and then goes on to glorify how comics will forever represent humanity's recollection of history and other such ludicrous dialogue, that the proceedings are strongly shaken off their foundations, truly vibe-kill. At various points in the film he states that there originally is a particular way in which heroes and villains exist, but that they are greatly eschewed in the comics of the time. So while he glorifies comics as windows into our pasts, he also detests them for there less than accurate portrayal of good vs evil. Great character consistency.
After much plodding and persistence, Elijah succeeds in convincing David to wonder about his health. Sometime during the movie we find out that David and his wife were involved in a car accident several years ago, with all the papers headlined "Local football star injured in near fatal car accident". Elijah alleges that David wasn't injured during the accident, but "faked it" because he wanted to find reason to end his football career, which in turn was because he loved Audrey very much and was willing to give up a career in football for her. So, David simply fakes that he was badly injured after the accident, and of course the media and the doctors and the nurses and all people simply take his word for it, and so does Audrey, because she too cites the car accident as a reason for David's not having been able to play football anymore. I just do not get how David managed to convince everyone he was so badly injured that he couldn't pursue a career in football anymore, when he clearly WASN'T injured. Whatever the plot needs, I guess.
The son with a gun scene was undoubtedly the best scene in the movie, because it was hilarious. "Friends don't hurt each other.", or something along those lines, was simply unintentionally hilarious.
From the information that David once nearly drowned in a swimming pool in his childhood, Elijah cooks up a fantastical theory about how they both have something in common and that is, their weakness- Water. And that is when Elijah comes to the epic conclusion that water chokes people when it enters there lungs. He says "Water is his kryptonite", and while that sounds intense, it is actually incorrect, because water would have been David's kryptonite, only if it was harmless to other humans, but the one thing that Elijah doesn't understand is that all humans can choke on water and die. But, this speech about his weakness is a pep talk for David, because very soon he's convinced that he is a superhero and wants to put his powers to use. He observes many criminals, and reasoning that there acts aren't gruesome enough for his intervention, he searches till he finds a murderer and goes after the man. He kills the man and saves the children and leaves. The next day he shows his son his escapade and tells him not to tell mom. For someone who killed a man last night, for the first time in his life, and realized the implications of his superpowers, David is really chilled out. The end however is underwhelming, with the rest of the movie being about only one thing- David either having or not having superpowers, with information for and against this motion having been provided to us alternatively. David shakes Elijah's hand for the first time, apparently, and thus sees the true horror of Elijah's actions. It's rather odd that in their many interactions, David and Elijah never happened to have brushed past each other previously. But okay, well that's the way it happened, so okay. It was revealed that Elijah is responsible for several major mishaps in the world(or was it city?). How he actually does manage to wreak havoc in so many places is left hanging. He's shown to mull around gathering vital stats and information for his plan and then executing it(the train crash incident). Keep in mind that this man who has supposedly committed grave acts of terror, was not really able to come down a flight of stairs at a hint of a pace, earlier in the movie. His plan to find a hero is frankly very inefficient, but I guess you shouldn't blame bad guys for being bad at what they do.
Ultimately, Unbreakable fails due to the method of execution of its concept and certain weak points in plot. Despite all this, some scenes are engrossing.
Brothers is a very well-crafted and supremely acted movie starring a powerhouse cast comprising Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman. Brothers is one of those movies that is thoroughly engaging from first shot to last and is able to exude this constant enchanting aura that gives weighted emotion to every one of its scenes. Its story isn't exactly original, a point that I will return to in a few moments, but is memorable due to the careful and precise direction, the pleasantly intense background score that captures the depth of every scene, and most of all, the acting by the entire cast, especially Tobey Maguire. Tobey Maguire plays his role with absolute and terrifying dedication, for his performance was very intense and heartfelt. He perfectly depicts the ways in which war can and does change the lives of the soldiers it harbours and the extent to which such strains can lead family life astray. And exactly where Tobey was very expressive and full blown, the always reliable Jake Gyllenhaal gives a more subtle performance with equal fervour and impact. Natalie Portman holds her own fort and is able to evict true emotion and feeling in the viewer. The two little girls in the film are surprisingly very good, so much so that they nearly manage to steal some scenes from their elder, more qualified counterparts.
Having spoken about the acting, it's time to talk about Jim Sheridan's direction. Sheridan's direction is reserved and confident, and expertly brings to life the events on screen. Each scene is well thought out and shown with the maximum attention to detail. A dinner scene in the third half of the movie is astounding in it's craft, with every little manoeuvre and expression captivatingly unveiled, with the whole act being thoroughly dramatic and power-packed. This really is potent direction that is worthy of much praise.
Some people deride the movie citing it as too melodramatic, and still others consider it generic Hollywood fare about how war affects people's lives. I believe this is hypocritical in nature, because this is rather unwarranted. Firstly, about this supposedly being melodramatic, I would like to point out that the movie was very reserved in its depiction of pain and suffering in most parts, while only reaching it's dramatic crescendo in the final ten minutes, which was very much necessary, especially considering how well acted the scenes in question were, and hence dismissing the entire movie as melodrama is unfair. And about it being a very generic tale about war, makes me wonder what this movie could have done differently to have not been 'generic'. Were it to focus more on the War itself, it would have been termed as pointless action with no dramatic heft, and since it does focus on the psychological effects of war, it is considered generic with striking comparisons with the 1978 classic 'The deer hunter'. This nature of belittling a movie released years after another, dealing with a 'similar' concept and theme, which in fact, is very much grounded in its own reality and carves its own character arcs, is once again unfair.
Finally, I would like to say that Brothers is very strong, heartfelt entertainment that has been overlooked for some of the reasons stated and rebuttled above. The greatest strength of this movie is the acting it features and is truly an underrated gem.
Nothing But the Truth (2008)
That debatable ending. *Spoilers*
This review does contain spoilers, and that is in order to discuss the much debated ending of this movie.
This is surely among the better Crime thriller movies out there, featuring some well executed performances from Kate Beckinsale and Matt Dillon, as well as good, strong dialogue, and most importantly, a question on the nature and morality of the relationship shared by the governments and the press, and the conflicts that arise out of them. So with fine acting, dialogue and a good story, this is film well worth the price of entry.
Now, onto the ending. Spoiler ahead.
So, in the end, after keeping the identity of the source a secret from us throughout, without having given away any hints, we are finally shown that Rachel first learned of Erica's true identity from Erica's daughter. I was quite honestly blown away by that revelation, and found it a very hair-rising ending. Some people claim this ending ruined an otherwise good movie, but in fact I think it raised it from being generic Hollywood fare. Up until that point it was clearly and firmly portrayed that Rachel very strongly stood by her principles and was determined to keep the identity of her source a secret in order to protect and safeguard her own integrity as well as the very profession of journalism. She, and her 'principle' were wonderfully glorified by the speech that Burnside allays at the Supreme Court. All this build up to glorify Rachel and her actions to stand by her principle are brought crashing down, with that revelation that she blatantly took advantage of the little girls naivety for personal gain and fame. She launched an attack on a matter of national security based merely on the honest, unwitting words of a toddler. The ending in fact reveals that Rachel isn't so much a woman of principle but instead a vile and repulsive human being who will go to any lengths to ensure her own professional gain. The reason she would never reveal the source of her information is simply because it was OUTRAGEOUS. It would definitely have tarnished her reputation as a now Pulitzer-nominated journalist and all the integrity and 'righteousness' that she had seemed to stand for would be for nothing. It all comes down to her belief that she'd rather have her life fall apart without anyone knowing that she had based something of such gargantuan national and international impact, on the meandering thoughts of an innocent toddler than have her life restored at the expense of revealing hher sick secret to the world. It is important to remember that she isn't weighing her political or legal options while deciding to keep her source a secret, but instead is herself so appalled at her methods of having procured the information that she'd rather go to jail and have people register her 'professionalism'. If she wouldn't reveal her source public perception of her while disputed, will undoubtedly oscillate from respect for her sacrifice in the name of upholding her integrity to confused apathy for ruining so many lives including her own at the cost of not disclosing one individual's name , but if she did disclose it there wouldn't even be a debate, her actions would be unanimously desecrated and her ethics and morals will be ridiculed. That is her line of thought, I believe. She is misguided in her thinking that she can still get back to living as close to a life as she used to lead, after completing her 2 year term.
I see the ending in this light, and this makes the movie potent. But then again, I do agree that some questions can yet be raised about Rachel's actions, but I believe this is the what the ending was meant to convey. Overall, a good movie; entertaining and well executed.
All 'battle' and little else, as the title suggests.
Hobbit 3. The last time we revisit Middle Earth and all its merry folk. So how amazing was this final venture? Not very.
The movie starts well, with Smaug the Fiery Dragon. Smaug was the best thing about the preceding movie, and he sure does liven up the beginning of this one. This fire breathing dragon gave me the chills, as ironical as that may seem.
Now, enter good ol' Azog. Azog the fair skinned, ambitious young lad, always frustrated and miffed off at everybody. Azog the Defiler never actually seemed a scary enough villain to me, just very mean. His character was considerably one-sided and Azog had this weird habit of stressing on every word he says, like a growling five year old. So, a vile, ferocious monster, with no depth whatsoever, is just that.
And I'd also like to mention the Mighty Gundabad Orcs, that are apparently very strong and fearsome, because anytime any character mentions them, they widen their eyes and take a deep breath. So, when all the characters convinced me of how terrible Gunadabad Orcs were going to be, it was considerable vibe-kill to see Bilbo throw fist sized stones from afar at the Orcs, to which they were knocked out cold, in an almost comical way. One would expect more from the much lauded Gundabad Orcs.
And that brings us to Bilbo, i.e; Martin Freeman. Freeman's comical prowess is undisputed of course, but this role actually required him to bring some more dramatic meat to the screen. I found Bilbo being too laid-back for much of the movie, cracking witty jokes time and time again, which while having been entertaining, undermined the seriousness of the moment.
And Gandalf? Never before has he done so little in a movie, at one point he himself says something along the lines of "Since when has my counsel counted for so little?!" He was speaking the truth. That isn't necessarily a problem, but along with other characters that are similarly thrown in, but have little to actually do, brings a feeling of vagueness to proceedings. Special mention would also go to the Elf-Goblin romance that was shallow and forced.
The story is simple. People, elfs, goblins and orcs fight very hard and for a very long time. Its a two half hour sequence of battle scene after battle scene between every possible creature you and I can imagine. But to be fair, the title does warn us very clearly. So, we can't actually complain too much on that front, but I believe we can say that there could've been more narrative depth and coherence to the script.
It has now come to my notice, that I've mentioned far too many cons and not enough pros. There are some really swell moments in the film. The background score for the movie complements the battle sequences very well. The battle sequences themselves were well done, if not legendary. And Thorin Oakenshield. He was the crowning glory of this movie. As much as it claims to be The 'Hobbit' 3, I felt that this installment was a lot more focused on the life and times of Thorin Oakenshield. Richard Armitage gave every scene his all, and added much dramatic depth to the story. Where Bilbo was comical, Thorin was intense.
All in all, the greatest fallacy of this movie, is quite simply it's lineage; in the sense that it is inevitably compared with the legendary Lord of the Rings trilogy, which can never be bettered. The comparison with the preceding movies is what works most against it, but these comparisons are very much valid. Still, The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies in all its visual brilliance, auditory resonance, and good performances, manages to make us feel epic along with all our Elf and Goblin kin, who fight valiantly.
Thank you Peter Jackson. And thank you, JRR Tolkien.
This 'fox' is a little too sly for it's own good.
Bennett Miller is a top-notch director. Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum, Steve Carrell are very good actors.
So, there you have it. A fine director and three very able actors. And a true story to drive it all home.
This is first off, not a 'Sport' movie. The wrestling is significantly sidelined. It does follow the story of Mark Schultz, the 1984 Olympic Gold medalist in wrestling, but focuses a lot more on the turbulent and downright obnoxious relationship that Mark shared with Coach John Du Pont. This is primarily, a psychological drama. And as most such movies go, it is slow. So if you are looking for a sport movie, this is not likely to appease you.
Now, knowing the nature of the film, we move onto the performances. Channing Tatum shows commendable acting prowess, and plays his role very seriously, having no doubt put in a lot of effort into immersing himself into the character. But, I did feel that he was ineffective in showing any wide range of emotions, and had a constant 'pout'(if I may call it that) throughout the film. From the very first frame to the very last, his expression hardly ever changes, so he does rub off as pointlessly grumpy. Steve Carrell steals the show in this movie, hands down. He plays a disturbed and maniacal old man to perfection. Mark Ruffalo as Dave Schultz is the 'life' of the movie. He's fun and engaging and nails every emotion there is.
The direction is meticulous and it is easy to see that a lot of thought and effort has gone into the making of each scene. Silence is used very effectively in this film, especially one scene involving Tatum exercising furiously in a black hood, is silently impacting.
What works for this movie is its direction and performances. What doesn't is its unrelenting desire to be dark and brooding at all times. At one point, I literally felt like shaking Tatum's head and shouting at him to just speak a few words and tell us what his pout is all about. At the end, the story takes you by storm, and is undoubtedly the most impactful moment in the film. But still, too much is left unclear. You might say that the director deliberately abstained from coming to any conclusions or taking any sides, but to have seen two hours of slow character build-up, with little to nothing actually happening on screen, we're left with the distinct feeling that there was more to the story than was revealed to us. You're left wanting more because nothing much happened for a lot of the movie, and too much happened in the last few minutes. It leaves the actions of the people involved open to interpretation, but is ineffective in having a lasting impact on the observer. I think this movie was too subtle, in everything from the conveying of emotion, to the elucidation of each character's inner thoughts, to the portrayal of deceit and deception, all of which inhibit the viewer from actually being a part of proceedings.
And so, I felt a little bit let down. There's hardly any wrestling. There are no feelings of triumph and glory associated with sport. There is an end that could have provided closure and rounded off the movie well, but it is deliberately left for dead.
Foxcatcher is a good movie, but not great. It wants to show, but not tell. It wants to reveal, but not actually make us feel. That is both the reason for it's success and the ultimate reason for it's demise.
The Imitation Game (2014)
This is one 'Game' you cannot miss.
The Imitation game is based on the life of an unsung war hero of the World War II. And therein lies the brilliance in its story. It tells the story of a man who had to face great odds right from childhood, and go on to script history, and then eventually face even tougher hardships, never having been truly applauded for the tremendous impact he has had on the world as we know it.
So, with a story itself so exciting and humbling, the direction and acting are meticulous. Benedict Cumberbatch grows on you as a character as the movie wears on. He perfectly captures the emotion and behaviour of Alan Turing. The movie is well-paced and has its moments of humour. Keira Knightley too was effective in her role, as were the rest of the cast.
The movie also effectively portrays another facet of the war- that of the mental and physical trials of the men and women who were the brains behind the counter- intelligence forces of Britain. The background score adds to the atmosphere of the movie. Ultimately, the movie succeeds in Cumberbatch's acting prowess and the sheer brilliance of the man he portrays. Had the story been fictional, the movie would not have been as impacting. The very fact that this an integral yet little known fact of world history, elevates the movie to another level. There are several other themes apart from war that are well explored and contemplated in this movie, which is a necessary inspection in this time and age.
Do watch it for that singularly exceptional man called Alan Turing.
The Judge (2014)
The Judge is a beautiful film.
Critics don't like it. But then again, how often does the audience concur with their opinion, these days? Not much I think, and that's because while critics assess every minuscule detail of a film(yeah, I know that's their job), we have the liberty to dwell and enjoy those aspects of a film that captivate us the most.
Powered by Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr.'s brilliant performances, this movie rises above it's rather streamlined plot. Considering I haven't seen all too many family dramas such as this one, I didn't find it cliché, but the point is, that the basic premise of the story while being generic was thoroughly uplifted by the performances and the visuals throughout the film. Granted I might just have been a little biased because the movie had The RDJ in it, but every frame of the movie was perfectly shot, infused with vibrant colour and detail. The many views of the countryside that abounds was literally eye-candy, and add to that the wonderful background score, the movie was ultimately heartwarming. Now with all the positives mentioned I would also have to add that the movie is a bit too long than it needed to be. There are also tiny other bits that might seem rather forced and contrived, but they can be easily ignored. All in all, there isn't much innovation in The Judge, but with it's performances, skillful handling of emotion, tidy execution and music, it is a most wonderful viewing experience.