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Category: 2014 (page 1 of 4)

Holds movie reviews from the year 2014

Big Eyes Review (2014)

An enchanting flick!

PLOT OF BIG EYES

Big Eyes is in a way reflective of a feeling every artist goes through when someone else steals credit for their work. It is a crime that Walter Keane, played superbly by Christoph Waltz, commits without batting an eye and Margaret Keane, portrayed by Amy Adams, endures for the better half of her life. Screenplay coming from Walter Keane is very reassuring as he inspires Margaret to not underestimate herself, and drops soothing lines to make her believe she is gifted.

“You shouldn’t sell yourself so cheap. Your heart’s in your work.”

BREAKING DOWN THE FLICK

Music is endearing and so is its editing. Has a constant charming pace that keeps everything strung well in place. Tim Burton’s intelligent style of film-making can be read through his thoughtful frames that occasionally drop off humorous subtleties to make things alluring and delectable.

The paintings of Big Eyes have a telling veracity that is told my numerous stunningly drawn children with their beady eyes. As Margaret expounds:

“Eyes are windows to the soul.”

Big Eyes beautifully captures the struggle one had to go through in order to be seen. Even though art was revered profusely, beginnings were still as relentless as baby steps of any creative profession.

SPOILER PAINTINGS AHEAD:

Christoph Waltz does a fabulous job as he tries to convince the whole world of his lie. It is hard to see through him. He is that good! Hell, he convinces you in the very beginning that he is for real. It is kind of a slow reveal when you start guessing his ugly facade.

MARGARET’S SILENT SUFFERING

At times you can’t help but feel sorry for Margaret and wonder why she doesn’t revolt. Trying to look at things from her perspective you realize she was pretty meek and weak. Also, he had a smooth talker for a husband who would always bring her around, probably why she was always in a constant dubitation. Also, there was moolah being pressed out on a regular basis; one of the major reasons for her mum.

You might wonder, despite the conning, Margaret does fairly well for herself, with a lie that helps both parties entailed. But for an artist who is fond of one’s work, money is always secondary. It is pride that matters the most, which Walter exploits profusely.

The fact Tim Burton doesn’t toy with the flick to make the biopic darker will compel you to raise brows. Dramatic elements don’t induce gut-wrenching feels which could be a downside to Big Eyes. But it does fairly well walking on its pleasant and bewitching theme to manifest eclipsed art and an engaging tale in its truest form.

Read more 2014 movie reviews here: 2014

Frank Review (2014)

Chinchilla!

Frank is so much more than a stark psychotic drama. It is a heightened dig into the heads of brilliant characters you might have trouble getting a proper read on. It is loosely inspired on the life of Frank Sidebottom (Chris Sievey) and has been curdled fictitiously into a gorgeous account.

OUTSTANDING FRANK CHARACTERS

To see everything through the sane eyes of the protagonist Jon Burroughs played superbly by Domhnall Gleeson was a delight per se. His character would shoehorn you into his shoes to help you get a better insight into the story. You soon get an endearing perspective on a peculiar persona who prefers to stay behind a mask, come what may.

Clara played by Maggie Gyllenhaal and Scoot McNairy’s Don are uncanny characters as well, aced by both the actors to perfection. Visual landscapes captured in the movie are magnificent, so is understanding the madness in every little thing. Lenny Abrahamson‘s direction is simply mind-boggling that ices the work of Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan beautifully.

ITCHY BRITCHES SPOILERS AHEAD

Michael Fassbender, the guy behind the papier mache cover, is the very definition of queer but he is simply fascinating when you get to know him better. He is the hidden force that keeps everyone together. You can get an idea about the gravity in his character with his lyrics primarily because for the most part you can’t really see the expressions he hides underneath the veil.

Things don’t stop tumbling towards the bizarre vale yet, as you get to know all the band members gradually, with the aid of Jon’s interaction with them. The movie is laced out with their insanity and their extreme love for music. Frank is the crux of the tale as the world Jon writes down is brimming up with love for him in every way. He is a very interesting character but unfortunately like most members of his band is suffering from a mental illness that Jon ploughs out slowly.

What was sad to find out was the world didn’t really share Jon’s enthusiasm, rather liked the hilarity of the group. He realizes eventually that he was trying to mould something irreparable, and then tries to make amends.

WHAT CONSTANTLY WORKS FOR FRANK

What works for this movie is its light humour and its surreal oddity, a misplaced feel of melodrama that weaves it into a majestic outcome. An intelligently built movie that ends with Jon setting things right again, the way things were in the first place, bizarre yet tied down by a single tinge of togetherness.

Check out another review of his another great feature film Room that hit the theatres in 2015 here: Room Review

Asterix and Obelix: Mansion of the Gods Review (2014)

Asterix and the gang ventures into 3D animated waters for the first time, and I must say it was quite delightful to watch them breathe alive on the big screen. All those big shiny noses and their clumsy acts look just brilliant in CGI.

Asterix and Obelix: Mansion of the Gods wouldn’t disappoint you. It is funny, featuring slapstick comedy, more of a situational provocation brought to you by the Roman invasion and the debatable empty heads of the Gauls. The plot is well written and is taken from the comic The Mansion of the Gods. The relentless Caesar walks in again with a master plan to ingest the Gaulish by building Mansion of the Gods, a new territory near their village for the Romans to populate. The story saunters around to and fro as both parties keep fighting with each other for the land.

A majority of the scenes in the beginning have been stretched, and sometimes the movie topples into the non-funny zone. But still the low comedy manages to beam up the down. Every character in the movie is a hoot. Caesar brings in the grim but the people who surround him wouldn’t make him look deadly. Someone or something would do something stupid every now and then and you would end up in fits of laughter.

The fun doesn’t stop at any point. A lot of fish slaps, cloud brawls, boar hunting and fake-fighting drive in the hilarious nail. Although you feel the ending dies out pretty quickly, you still get a brilliant feast to devour, as you laugh your way out of the theatre with a contended look.

A really entertaining flick. Kids are going to love it. It would be a great way to tell them the legacy of Asterix if they haven’t come across the comic hero hitherto.

What We Did on Our Holiday Review (2014)

What We Did on Our Holiday is downright adorable.

What makes this movie a hoot? Three adorable children who comprehend the world with their own little brains, see relationships with their own beady innocent eyes, and act on their reckless instincts and innocent unbloomed knowledge. What We Did on Our Holiday is a delightful perspective into the abyss of the broken that skims its aftermath gorgeously.

David Tennant looks the right kind of perplexed in the comedy trying to figure out his children and marriage whilst Rosamund Pike complements him beautifully with her engaged acting. Ben Miller as Gavin is brilliant as well. Billy Connolly ices the funny storyline with his pizzazz and brilliant comic timing.

The screenplay is witty, subtle and snappy. The good thing about its humour is that the entire film, unlike other comedies, is not build on a slapstick foundation. The theme of the movie sometimes goes really thoughtful from sheer comedy which further furbishes the rhythm. The plot will make you giggle per se without any extra addition to the story.

If you look at the downsides, sometimes you do hope the drama to be a little bit more grave. It lacks profundity, but considering it a Comedy, this fact can be overlooked.

A brilliant comedy that is compelled to traverse the ‘outstanding category’ by the mere cuteness rush of Harriet Turnbull and Bobby Smalldridge. This Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin project is a definite go go!

The Water Diviner Review (2014)

Russell Crowe’s first big directorial venture isn’t a fiasco. It is good but there are so many things that stop it from being great.

The Water Diviner is a movie that starts off with exceptional score, awesome direction and then later dwindles into mediocrity in its main course, only to resurrect again in the end. Screenplay is good, sometimes covering great words brilliantly spoken by the cast. Score is enthralling. Plot is beautiful and well directed at times.

Movie is all Russell. Carrying a thoughtful face and wet eyes, he portrays a man in pain perfectly. You can almost feel for his loss, when the plot unfurls with a terrible tragedy that compels you to wear his shoes. With a big fatherly heart, Crowe carries the movie with his sheer emotions.

Olga is a disappointment. Her face lacks the much needed thoughtful lustre. Sometimes you can perceive her forceful put-on acts with a lot of unwanted animation to her features. Even Jai doesn’t get enough screen time. His addition to the tale ends up going to waste.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

Some of the greatest bits of the movie lie in its starting act where we see Connor finding water, and then digging a well to find the cold. Even before that, the war bit is also quite beautifully shot. It carries along with it an apt climax that delivers subtly a brooding thought. We are soon thrown into the pits of tragedy when we find Connor reading out stories to three empty beds.

At one point the movie loses its seriousness where the score changes to comic like undertone. Even though grim frames follow, something seems amiss and you cannot take anything that pursues seriously.

The gravity of the movie however lies at the war grounds where Arthur lies in mud along with his brethren, helpless, and also at Russell’s brows. The chaotic war aftermath is captured beautifully with all the wailing and crooning that shatters the quiet myth.

Eventually the flick narrowly escapes the jaws of mediocrity owing to the gloomy theme it runs on and revives with Arthur’s big conundrum and a happy-ending.

Good stuff! Worth a watch!

It Follows Review (2014)

No matter how far you go or how far you run, it follows. But just remember – it simply walks to you. So your best shot is to keep running. That or you could pass it on.

David Robert Mitchell’s horror tale is a perfectly written thriller buffed up quite beautifully by brilliant actors like Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Lili Sepe, Olivia Luccardi and Daniel Zovatto. The background score is simply outstanding and it gives an enthralling charm to the theme of the movie. Frequently used high notes that get exscinded often for emphasis complement the enactments quite impeccably.

Direction is simply outstanding. David chooses subtle ways to depict the mundane, like not for a second does he waste his frames on the protagonist’s family. Occasionally he would insinuate family members through photo frames, mirrored reflections, and blurred eyes, but he would never actually bring them into the vanguard for focus. David depicts how estranged one’s family becomes at a certain age, and manifests how they levitate in the background of a teenager’s life. His incessant single takes are top-notch. The rotating camera technique, the rear window view to capture crucial moments and the constant follow-through are a delight to watch.

One of the most wonderful things about the flick is that people close to the protagonist don’t simply pass into the oblivion. Unlike clichéd horror movies, they don’t become victims. They impart meaning to the word “friendship” by sticking together no matter what and by trying to overcome a problem at hand with pluck. Jay’s keen eye is captured marvellously as she watches trees, insects, shrubs, everything that brings her closer to nature. Societal imprints too are caught through the eyes of strangers in an exceptional way.

Screenplay is also very well written. The movie carries a brilliant gravity throughout its runtime which is furbished quite nicely by the occasional bad ass score that elevates the entire movie-viewing experience.

The flick ends abruptly at a high note that leaves the audience brooding. The closure is open to interpretation which deliberately forces your thoughts towards what’s impending.

An exceptional movie! But I am afraid, not for everybody. I am saying this because those who came in for a horror punch seemed disappointed and duped.

Wild Review (2014)

Extraordinary feat! Exceptional stuff!

Wild is downright wild. The title insinuates so many things; it couldn’t be more justified. The restless state inside the head of a woman, who has encountered a recent tragedy, the aftermath of that catastrophe, the wilderness she resorts to for recovering herself – everything indicative of the apposite title of the flick. Wild is a movie of self-discovery through an ordeal of hiking.

The movie digs in to explore human emotions, the commotion in a sane head that could victimize even the boldest soul. It skims on the concept of human attachment, frivolity, grief and repentance.

There is only so much that a heart could take. A time rushes in when it topples you off the sync. You are no longer living and you aren’t dead either. Wild takes a dive into the life of Cheryl, the protagonist with a broken past, who inflamed by her deeds embarks on a hiking expedition across the PCT.

Reese Witherspoon plays Cheryl superbly. Her face dons Cheryl’s gravity with ease. She is ballsy, she is dramatic and she is on a path of redemption. Also, she is pissed and you can hear her talk! Thanks to an exceptional feat in direction by Jean-Marc Vallee as he lets you listen to her thoughts, just like you would listen to yours on a journey so rough.

Wild is also carved with brilliant drama. Hands down top-notch! There are so many moments in the movie that simply shatter you to pieces. Cheryl’s grieving process is intermingled with imagery from the past. At some instances, different frames are deliberately run in a fleeting manner, and then unravelled gradually at a later stage to complete its story. This type of direction and editing is downright phenomenal! The screenplay is also drenched with emotional vibes that compel you to think. Overall a sensational movie that can’t be missed.

Kingsman: The Secret Service Review (2014)

Kingsman is exhilarating!

What does a spy movie need? Eye-popping gore, ridiculous concepts, shreds of humour and some ballsy action sequences. Add a suit to it, and you have got yourself some classic JB stuff. But it ain’t James Bond. Kinda more like Jack Bauer! 😉

Matthew Vaughn hardly disappoints. He is a man of KickAss taste (see what I did there?)  He literally survives on theatrics. Take any of Vaughn’s work and you know he has this unique way of film-making that sways around with the actors, occasionally jumps at them for emphasis, and stays till the animation hangs around. Also, if Vaughn gets serious behind the camera, you just know how his work becomes grim all of a sudden. First Class reference intended! Fortunately we see everything in this movie.

You have a concept, even though how clichéd it might sound, that breathes on Vaughn’s pizzazz, which is seriously taken up with Firth’s splendor and well supported by Taron Egerton’s audacity. To fill in the voids you have Mark Strong to the rescue, whose facial expressions are enough to tell shit’s getting serious. Samuel steps up to fill in the boots of villainy with a lisp. He isn’t dangerous exactly but yes he wears a brainiac-head with an idea so hideous that takes care of the world’s population per se.

There are some ridiculous and uncanny bits in the movie but they are all passable because of this explosive entertainment package that we are shot in the head with. Also, primarily because it is a comic adaptation so I would suggest just go with it. Sit back and enjoy the theatrics. Get on a joy ride that would take you to the rails of awesomeness with bursting heads, popping eyes, plucked hands, flying prosthetics, split bodies and a cute little pug. Whoa! Quite a descent!

The finest part of the flick: Watch out for that church massacre! Amen to that! 😉

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Review (2014)

Birdman is a rare outstanding feat! 

PLOT OF BIRDMAN

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s riveting drama isn’t just about a lost actor who is trying to find himself through a Broadway play but is also about a broken man trying to justify his relevance to the world. Birdman is an extremely well written dramatic account of Riggan’s life, his tattered relationships, his dream to make it big once again and the alter-ego that literally rules over him. 

DIRECTION

Inarittu’s direction is a beauty as he merges several frames subtly to project a continuous shot. The whole movie seems like it has been shot in a single take, and that illusion is worth an ovation. The director also gorgeously masters every frame’s timing quotient. Every act starts with a proper follow through of a character only getting intercepted when it’s someone else’s queue. The flow and rhythm of the movie is simply splendid. 

There is something beautiful about Birdman’s story. The ploy is brilliantly narrated through the messed up head of Riggan with glimpses from his past debacles, screenplay that makes you brood that often cross over for emphasis, an ever ending take that goes on till the climax, and a conclusion that loosely dangles for intense interpretation. Everything has been wrapped up beautifully by an audacious and dark voice in his head, the one big thing he ever was – Birdman, one big success from the past that keeps haunting him, telling him he isn’t dead and that he flies above the meaningless. 

BREAKING BIRDMAN DOWN

With an imaginary backdrop working along with the protagonist, you already know that you are in for a fantasy-world. What is crucial is that you pay attention. There are minute subtle hints that will blow your mind away while trying to connect the dots. 

If we overlook the mind boggling ending for a while, still we are left with some exceptional drama pieces like when Sam speaks up to her father and shatters him with cold, when Riggan takes on a famous NYT critic in a bar and excellent conversations between Mike and Sam and Lesley’s remorse. Things become intense owing to bits of psychotic drama as Riggan inches towards insanity. The climax of the movie leaves you spell bound and is deliberately left open for interpretation. 

SPOILERS FLYING AHEAD

If you have not seen the movie, please stop reading at once. But if you have, the ending is sure to raise a dozen doubts in your head. 

FINAL EPILOGUE EXPLAINED

The flick ends in a surreal epilogue with Riggan jumping out of the window, and Sam reacting happily to her Father’s ‘flying’ act. The one theory that I would like to believe but not stick to is Riggan’s death after he shot himself during the theater act. Reasons that reassure me of this:

  • The plot was one continuous single take but the continuity breaks for the first time right after Riggan shoots himself.
  • In the hospital when Jake switches on the TV it showed people lighting candles for him. You don’t do that for a person who is alive. Du-uh dead! 
  • The hospital scene was probably the next day right after the incident. Sam bringing flowers for him could be at his funeral. This justified by his inability to smell them. His funeral again supported by the fact that her wife was wearing a black dress. 

Riggan jumping out of the window could be a symbolism of his soul transcending, as he finally rejects Birdman to be his only way to stardom. Sam’s smile in the end could be her acceptance of her father’s feat as a true hero.

CONTRADICTING THE ABOVE THEORY

What contrasts the above ‘dead’ theory greatly is the fact that there were several past failed suicidal endeavors by Riggan which have been subtly inserted into the screenplay. Lesley responding to Ralph once: “He shot himself in the mouth. But he screwed that up, too.” The Jellyfish story goes on to show how Riggan was unsuccessful in killing himself in the past. So shooting the nose seems plausible. Then it takes us again to the hospital part. Taking this theory ahead on the vanguard, we can say that the imagination of Riggan once again begins right from the part he decides to take off the bandages and the rest that follows is once again the imagination bit. In the end he flew fantastically and figuratively with an acknowledgment sign from her daughter. This seals the deal too.

Whatever the case might have been Birdman is truly a rare feat that must be celebrated. Go ahead and watch this movie if you wish to visit some avant-garde style of film-making.

The Grand Budapest Hotel Review (2014)

“It was an enchanting old ruin.”

The Grand Budapest Hotel is drenched in literary awesomeness, Wes Anderson’s beautiful adventurous tale is about the life of a concierge named Gustave, who develops a friendship with a loyal Lobby Boy Zero Moustafa, a young immigrant from the East, on account of a misfortune that fires an avalanche of events. Set in a span between the World Wars, the story is basically a narration from a writer, who had met a hollow version of Zero in The Grand Budapest Hotel, who in turn narrates every account of his and Gustave’s adventure to him. (Talk about Inception eh!)

Screenplay is just marvellous. It touches bits of humour quite subtly. The direction is top notch just the way Wes likes to depict his cinema. If you have seen his previous works you would know how brilliantly he projects his frames and takes you to a different world altogether. You couldn’t help but marvel at the way he rotates his camera and runs into inanimate things for focus. He leaves most of the action part to our vivid imagination. Built backdrops and landscapes in the flick are quite artistic and perfectly manifested with a unique animation.

Wes carves his writing gorgeously, as occasionally he slips into splendid poetic verses beautifully enunciated by Ralph Fiennes. The story runs great along with some exceptional editing. A gripping adventure that breathes on outstanding performances by Fiennes, Norton, Dafoe, Brody, Goldblum and Revolori. Even though it had a stellar cast, actors like Bill Murray, Jude Law, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman basically had cameos.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is simply a glimpse into the creative head of Wes Anderson. It is a remarkable feat in comedy and direction and a must watch for people who love quality cinema.

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