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All reviews - Movies (37)

A Morbid Tale of Human Fate

Posted : 5 years, 1 month ago on 24 October 2012 08:23 (A review of Planet of the Apes)

After 40 years, some great technological advancements and uncountable futuristic Sci fi flicks, Planet of Apes may not find itself on a favourable position to lure the tech savvy present generation of ours but never the less it is a great classic all the way on the merit of its great story and some uncompromised philosophy. It is a brilliant movie well ahead of its time which never seems crippled despite the limitations of available CG of that time, instead the film excels on its brilliant story idea and equally brilliant execution.
After 2000 odd years (Tough calculation you won’t want to get into) of space travels 3 astronauts finally reach a strange planet where the evolution seems to have taken a backward turn. The humans are the Wild beast there whereas the apes are the civilized master. So for obvious reasons humans are kept in to the cages by the apes that seem to thrive on simpler formula of containment. Their science, philosophy and moral codes do not allow them to explore beyond a certain point, now why they are like that is the question that is answered at the very end and the shocking twist at the end is appalling.



Planet of the Apes is the creation of Director Franklin J. Schaffner based on the 1963 French novel La Planète des singes by Pierre Boulle . The film is also blessed with the superb acting by Charlton Heston. The film rides on its intelligent script, some great make up and minimal special effects as required.
All in all Planet of The Apes is a timeless classic that should not be missed, and for an advice don’t miss the end which is outstanding. I am going with 8 out of 10 for this 1968 future drama; miss it at your risk.



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It's A Wonderful Story...

Posted : 5 years, 2 months ago on 14 October 2012 08:53 (A review of It's a Wonderful Life)

What does it take to make an immortal film?
Every time I get a chance to watch an old classic I feel compelled to search for an answer to this question. Honestly what it takes to make your work so timelessly beautiful that even after 60 years people would adore the work. I don't know the answer perhaps those were the golden days of storytelling. There are so many great stories told in the 40s and 50s era which still looks so relevant and beautiful. Never the less, as a lover of good cinema I am happy with so many pearls at my disposal.

It’s a wonderful Life even after 66 years of its release time still looks so breathtakingly beautiful. It being considered as one of the most inspirational American cinema does not conceal the fact that it bombed at box office in 1946 largely due to the high production cost and perhaps due the theme but still it is a classic in true sense because of an incredibly moving story and some spectacular acting.



The story looks at the life of George Bailey (James Stewart) confined in the mediocre life in Bedford Falls. He wants to travel the world and aspires to become an architect creating beautiful structures instead as his fate turns out he is struck with the old building and loan, a lending firm formed by his idealistic father. He also finds an enemy in Mr. Henry F. Potter (Lionel Barrymore), a slumlord who wants to take over everything in the city. Bailey the kind hearted city boy is the only one who can stop Potter through his compassionate heart and his father’s legacy – the Building & Loan.

The story takes us through an emotional ride through the entire life of George Bailey till we reach the D day on a Christmas Eve when Bailey almost loses it. Then enters his Guardian Angel Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers), Angel Second Class who intervenes his suicide attempt and shows him how his life connects that of so many people around him and wins him his life in the end while earning his own wings.

The story is very lively and moving and the direction by Frank Capra is very competent. He never interrupts the narrative and the screenplay remains free flowing through out. The humour is very subtle and real funny and there are certain heart worming scenes that truly touched my heart. The fact that I watched the colourised version adds brownie points ( Though the Critics hated it), the film looks spectacular on screen. The film also has a formidable star cast. The legendary James Stewart as George Bailey is energetic as usual and steals the show. Donna Reid as Mary Hatch Bailey, Bailey’s wife looks out of the world. She looked one of the best on screen ever. The supporting cast also looks brilliant. All in all what a movie experience it has been. I have watched it thrice so far and still it looks so fresh.
I am going with 10 out of 10 for this all time classic; I just love this one so much that this is in my list of all time favourites


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Mrs Dalloway's One Special Day

Posted : 5 years, 2 months ago on 14 October 2012 07:31 (A review of The Hours)

Films that are blessed with good reputation often enjoys an added advantage that, very unknowingly one starts to feel obligated to like them. This may often turn a little misleading but fortunately it worked fine for me this time. I almost felt compelled to watch this film for its good rating and I am happy I did so. It’s so beautiful like a fully blossomed flower with all its petals in full glory. The multilayered story and its delectable star cast weaves together a nicely blended humane story of three women of three different generations and how their lives connect each other.
The Hours directed by Stephen Daldry is based on the 1999 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same title by Michael Cunningham. It looks into one day of three women’s lives in three different times and interestingly their lives are so connected. The first being the famous writer Virginia Wolves who is writing a novel in the year 1921, second being Laura Brown a pregnant housewife with an unhappy marriage in 1951 who is reading the novel and the third one is Clarissa Vaughan in 2001 whose life resembles that of Mrs Dalloway the character Virginia Wolves is creating. The plot is interesting to say the least and Daldry’s narrative never makes it complicated. The screenplay is tight and never loses grip on the narrative. The opening 15-20 minutes just impressed me immensely; the scenes in different time zones are so well stitched together and seem flawless. The background score is mind blowing and it seamlessly adds to the narration and always looks the part.



The acting department is the real asset in this touching story. All the three women in this film played by Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore are truly spectacular. Particularly Kidman surpasses every other work she has done before and her Oscar winning performance is to be seen to be believed. Ed Haris shines within the limited scope he is given with. Honestly the male characters are not developed to the extent to be felt important at all and that to me is the minor glitch in this otherwise brilliant film. Also we never come to know why Laura is not happy with her seemingly good marriage life. With all the major characters being suicidal the story may seem a downer but ultimately it conveys hope at the end and Mrs Dalloway chooses to live. The makeup is so good and the cinematography is excellent too. All in all The Hours may not justify the huge 9 Oscar Nominations but none the less it is a very good film.
I am going with 7 Out of 10 for Stephen Daldry‘s The Hours, it is a satisfying watch and sentimentally touching but in the end I seriously felt like missing something. It really felt lesser than it aspired to be or at least promised to be. Never the less still it is worth a watch just to witness the brilliant storytelling and some great acting on screen.



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Mission Accomplished...

Posted : 5 years, 2 months ago on 10 October 2012 01:49 (A review of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol)

After hovering over Europe, Australia and part of China and Russia with the first 3 ones the 4th instalment of MI moves to the eastern part of the world and Tom Cruise is back in his most popular avatar as Ethan Hunt. With Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol the franchisee finds its 4th director in as many versions. While I did like the 3rd part the most this one is certainly the best in the series and thus pretty much successful in revamping the franchisee.
MI 4 directed by the talented Brad Bird is stylish and smart just like its predecessors but perhaps for the first time the series has a decent screenplay to work with and that shows. Thankfully Bird has downplayed the mask business in this one,while the first three instalments had taken it to ridiculous level. Instead he works hard on the screenplay and the film works mostly on the strength of that.



The story is simple and on track for a MI version so there are ample stunt scenes and as usual they are spectacular. Tom Cruise even though looking a bit aged has done well as the superspy and the star cast looks better in this one. While Simon Pegg & Paula Patton are welcome changes Jeremy Renner as Agent Brandt steals the show. This is clearly not his film and he is supposed to underplay beneath the shadow of Ethan Hunt but Renner is too good an actor to slip by this golden opportunity. Though given a limited scope he is very good in it. He brings in the funny yet tough and importantly subtle touch on board in this otherwise over the top action drama and I just loved him for that. This man is destined for much better roles that is for sure.
So all in all MI 4 is a much better sequel compared to the earlier versions. It has kept the style and over the top flavour intact besides adding new spices to the dyeing franchisee. Even though the film is not immune to illogical moves but to some extent it dares to be different and that itself is commendable job for the director. I am going 7 out of 10 for MI 4 finally somebody has put in some common sense in the silly series.



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Old School Horror Stuff...

Posted : 5 years, 2 months ago on 7 October 2012 08:20 (A review of The Woman In Black)

Daniel Radcliffe desperately needs a change of fortune and I pray it happens soon. After 8 Harry Potter fantasies and 11 years in Hollywood he has grown into a fine young man alright but despite all his dire efforts he is still under the character of Harry Potter on Screen. A very long and successful franchisee does that to you as an actor but he needs to overcome that for his own good. He tries so hard to shed his Harry Potter skin in his latest endeavour Woman in Black but the problem is he hardly looks convincing as a widower father and this basic flaw haunts this interesting plot throughout it's run time.

With Woman in Black Hollywood travels back to old school haunted stories and that really works. The story based on the novel of Susan Hill of the same name is dark and most importantly scary in parts. The story is set in a remote village in England and on the backdrop of some really great visual it looks incredibly scary. Arthur Kipps is a young lawyer who travels to a remote village to organize a recently deceased client's papers, where he discovers the ghost of a scorned woman set on vengeance. The story is simple but interestingly the screenplay is devoid of cheap jump scares and unnecessary gore. It mostly relies on the bleak backdrop and suspense to create the scare and boy it succeeds in that. To be honest after a long time I enjoyed the scare on screen.



However the film is not completely free of the clichés of a horror film. The film picks a certain height half way through it and then takes a sudden drop. Despite it's short run time the screenplay feels a little jaded in the last half. It could have been a very good horror film but the last half and a predictably bleak ending bleeds it pretty badly. The acting department is solely dependent on Radcliffe and despite of his shortcomings he looks sincere. As I have already said that he does not look old enough for the role so his certain expressions seem artificial but still his efforts are commendable.
The film heavily relies on the blunt yet beautiful cinematography and the direction is decent from James Watkins.

All in all Woman in Black is brave as atleast it tries to walk a different path. I am going with 7 out of 10 for Woman in Black, it could have been better but even though it is not it is still a good watch.


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Refreshing But Flawed...

Posted : 5 years, 2 months ago on 6 October 2012 02:24 (A review of Barfi!)

Barfi, the latest endeavour of the talented Anurag Basu is both impressive and disappointing at the same time. I did go in with some high expectations given the reputation of the director and the hype surrounding the film and honestly I am not too amazed with this happy go lucky story of a deaf & mute Darjeeling boy. The story however adopts an unfamiliar path for a Bollywood film al right but in the end suffers for taking itself too seriously. Basu tries to tell a simple story of some simple people but unnecessarily complicates things by incorporating unrelated sub-plots.

Now Basu deserves some praise though for capturing the beautiful Darjeeling on Screen. The film is exclusively shot in Calcutta and Darjeeling and truly it is a visual treat. It is able to tag the nostalgic feeling with the story but unfortunately that is not the only cognitive feeling we are exposed to. The story also exerts a feeling of deja-vu and that is purely because the director has copied too many Hollywood stuff. I mean the comic portions are direct rip off from numerous Charlie Chaplin films, the two love stories in each half are heavily influenced from The NoteBook and our very own Koshish. Whereas the kidnap plot has an uncanny similarity with Gone Baby Gone and so on. But what really disappointed me is the background score. They just lifted it from Amelie.



Despite all these copy paste act by the director, the film works only because of some great performances from the lead. Priyanka Chopra is superb and Ranbir gives a mature performance as Barfi. Now I admit Barfi is not the most honest work by the director but none the less it is a decently good film to watch.
I am going with 6 out of 10 for Barfi, but given the fact that this is our official entry to Oscars I really think the Juries desperately need an IQ check.


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Alien 2012.....

Posted : 5 years, 2 months ago on 4 October 2012 04:59 (A review of Prometheus)


The Alien franchise is unique in a sense that all the earlier films were blessed with the presence of some greatly talented directors on board. While the 1st version was the creative child of Ridley Scott the others were directed by James Cameroon, David Fincher and Jean-Pierre Jeunet respectively. So when Ridley Scott decided to come home to his most coveted genre with Prometheus expectation rose to sky high. Now does he succeeds in that is a million dollar question. Well he is able to raise certain questions with his magnum opus al right but inexplicably remained silent while answering to them. Now Scott has been instrumental while handling science fiction stuff in the past but unfortunately this time his homecoming seems less convincing. Throughout the film it gives an impression that the ace director has a lot in his plate without even knowing how to gulp that. Now lets look at the questions the film raised in it's course.

Prequel to Alien

Prometheus has been widely rumoured to be a prequel of the 1979 classic hit Alien from the same director. Now is to so, I am not so sure. To me it is rather a modern updation of Alien or at best we can call it Alien version 2012. The story remains almost the same - the same mean android,the lone woman survivor at the end, the way the first alien infestation happens - everything seems so familiar to put it nicely.

Our Origin

The main aspect of this film is the interesting plot. It is supposed to be a search for our Origin as a human being or to say in other words a search for secret of our existence. That is one intriguing premise Scott bases his film on and full marks to him for that. But unfortunately that's it as far as the innovation goes. I mean instead of finding our origin through the voyage we actually find a set up for a sequel and that really sucks. He took like an eternity to ask the poignant question and finally left us all clueless about the answer.

Casting

Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw is the replacement for Sigourney Weaver here and she does full justice to the responsibility handed over to her. Michael Fassbender as David the android is brilliant as usual. He is so good in his role that I really feel he is an asset in this alien drama. But honestly I felt that Charlize Theron & Guy Pearce is wasted in two inconsequential roles. All in all a brilliant cast none the less but not a very effective one.



So in a nut shell Prometheus is a film that works in parts but disappointing in the end. While the cinematography just excels to the point of breathtaking at times the screenplay lets the film down. There is not much logic behind a lot of scenes and at the end instead of becoming a smart Science fiction that it aspires to be Prometheus is left being an Alien Action saga. I had expected a lot out of it specifically because of the intriguing set up it uses but in the end it is more like a summer blockbuster that has entertained me well enough but left me hungry in my belly.

I am going with 7 out of 10 for Prometheus, it scored largely on the merit of the plot it begins with and the sensational production value, but as I have already said I am entertained but not satisfied.


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Brilliant Con Job

Posted : 5 years, 2 months ago on 2 October 2012 05:06 (A review of Inside Man)


When two time Oscar nominated director Spike Lee decides to try his hand in a heist thriller, rest is assured that it would be more than ordinary stuff we get to see & hell it is something. First he gets an awesomely written script by Russell Gewirtz and the cast is adorable. It is quite obvious from the set up itself that there will be comparisons with Dog Day Afternoon and how clever Lee is, he uses the reference in the film itself. Let me use that connection once more, I think this is the best heist thriller post Dog Day Afternoon and that is only similarity these two films have got.

Let's get back to this insanely clever film. I mean it is packed with surprises after surprises. First it starts with a Hindi (Indian) song from the Oscar Winner Indian Musician A.R Rehman (Real surprise to me)then the brilliant casting it has. Getting Dangel Washington, Jodie Foster, Clive Owen, Christopher Plummer, Chiwetel Ejiofor & Willem Dafoe under the same script and handling them to perfection is a commendable job and that pays off nicely. As I have already said the story is really clever and smart and that is brilliantly handled by an equally smart narration. The narration keeps moving back & forth in a non linear manner but in that way it conceals more than revealing anything at all, certainly this adds to the suspense none the less. The con itself is of the highest order and the pre war Nazi connection adds up to the dark narration.

The dialogues are something I really liked. They have been brilliantly written and some of them really had me going.

So with an impressive cast, clever story and brilliant direction Inside man seriously works fine with me. I am going 8 out of 10 for Inside Man, It is really impressive.


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Truly A Mesmerizing Idea

Posted : 5 years, 2 months ago on 2 October 2012 06:38 (A review of Inception)


I am really embarrassed that it has taken me a lifetime to come up with this review. In fact I was never sure whether I was capable enough to Write about Inception but here I am trying to do the most difficult task of my life. When I say those words I am not bluffing any bit because I was so moved with Inception that I did what I had never done before, I watched 3 shows on the first 3 days and with each viewing ever since I have read the story in newer lights and to me that's the beauty of Inception.
I am one of the biggest fan of the great Christopher Nolan so much so that I was always a subject to taunt among my peers, but none the less I feel he is one of the best storyteller of the recent years and I can go on lengths to prove that. Now having said that Inception in my view is the best film he has done yet. I mean yes he did some great experiment with Memento & the screenplay in The Prestige was fascinating, and the Batmen has found his redemption through him but in Inception the master has outdone himself. Be it the story, characterisation, screenplay, acting or action everything is just so breathtaking & besides all it is everything for every kind of viewers. Be it the intellectual stuff or the action required for a perfect summer blockbuster.



Inception is a crime thriller mostly dealing with our dreams. Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb is the Con artist here who can extract anything from your subconscious mind in dreams. It's a story of a major hiest through which Dom finds redemption from his inner guilt. The story features of a great cast indeed. Besides DiCaprio we have Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy and the ever reliable Michael Caine in important roles and every one contributes to this epic.

There are particular instances which are so moving, like the one where Mal jumps out of the building and the emotional portions involving Dicaprio. Dicaprio has really grown as an actor over the years. He may tend to overdo the pain stricken characters but none the less he is too good at that.

A special mention needs to be done for the effects. A lot of new things have been tried here and everything looks so beautiful. Be it the scene where the whole of Paris folds itself, or the gravity defying action scenes everything seems well rehearsed and truly breathtaking. The back ground score by Hans Zimmer is truly amazing.

All in all Inception to me is the best cinematic experience I have ever had and believe me I am not a novice in this field. The screen play is so binding, the characters are well built, the plot is mind blowing and the direction is top notch. So I am going 10 out of 10 for Christopher Nolan's Inception. It's my favourite film and honestly it challenged me to my wit's end to figure it out.


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Average Loud Comedy

Posted : 5 years, 2 months ago on 2 October 2012 05:17 (A review of Liar Liar)


Director Homas Peter Shadyac enjoys a pretty ordinary career given the fact that he mostly concentrated on comedies, to be more precise loud comedies. So Liar Liar suffers from the same factor and add Jim Carrey to it and you will get a slapstick attempt at comedy. He is loud & wild making crazy faces as he always does but unfortunately he harldly gets the support from a bad screenplay. There is hardly any logic, the characters are baseless and to make the matters worse the fun elements also seem forced. Now Carrey is such a talented actor but he wasted his whole career in such obnoxious comedies. There is nothing much to talk about the story and acting is solely dominated by Jim Carrey and to me he succeeds and fails at the same time. There are some genuine funny scenes but they are so loud that after a while it hardly feels funny.

I am going with 6 out of 10 for Liar Liar, it is a comedy alright but it has nothing much to offer.


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