Straight From a Movie

Pensive Thoughts on Paper | Movie Reviews and Quotes Website

Tag: Amy Adams

Arrival Movie Review (2016) | Denis Villeneuve Helms a Masterpiece

Wonderstruck! Dumbfounded! Arrival movie confounds you as it crushes dams of conventions. It is the arrival of a change, a different outlook at the word ‘alien’. So many movies we have seen hitherto, all showing aliens in an ugly limelight, branding them destroyers, marauders or invaders. It used to paint the same old picture with its destructive cliches.

Arrival movie changes everything. Your perception about strangers in our land. It stresses on the fact they could be here for a reason other than war. The movie unfolds gorgeously from a stupefying elusive pickle into a mind-boggling explosive revelation. That’s the entire driving force on which Arrival runs.

Direction of Arrival Movie

Denis Villeneuve stays highly revered in my head owing to all the uncanny topics he picks. He isn’t afraid to experiment, takes bold awe-inspiring risks and literally fuels avant-garde cinema. His direction abounds with intelligence that nips at our traditions of perceiving movies. He challenges us to think, knocking us out of our comfort zone. It’s ballsy, different and simply remarkable. Something we don’t see everyday in cinema today. Primarily because such films vexes many, and then all the movies end up becoming nothing but moderate crowd-pleasers. But this man right here, never ceases to take risks.

still of Amy Adams as Louise Banks and Jeremy Renner as Ian Donnelly in Arrival movie

In particular I love how Denis Villeneuve imparts tranquil focus to his frames. Everything happens for a reason. It merges and overlaps with wistful thinking and asks of you to do the same. In those momentary transitions you are forced to hear your thoughts, you think of the possibilities and given his reputation try to envision the figurative side of the story.

Plot of the Arrival Movie (Minor Spoilers Ahead)

Created on a story by Ted Chiang titled ‘Story of Your Life‘ the movie runs beautifully making up stunning placid frames for its plot. To understand the movie truly you must get this first: There is no definite order! It is a ragbag of tenses. And Denis, the genius he is, intermingles them often supersedes them brilliantly amongst each other. The main theme goes like this:

Louise Banks is an insanely gifted linguist who is sought after by a US Army Colonel to communicate with alien spaceships that have landed on Earth. She meets physicist Ian Donnelly who has also been hired to accompany her for the job.

still of alien letters and symbols from Arrival movie

I loved how Denis decided to show repercussions of alien arrival. Betwixt his poised frames we get to see our world flame up in chaos, even though all alien ships did was stand still on our ground. The contextual insinuations that human mind read are beyond our grasp. It goes on to show how humans are akin bubbles waiting to explode with a mere instigation without comprehending the what, the why and the how of a situation.

What then follows is constant prodding in order to understand the language of the aliens to figure out their true purpose of visit. The final revelation is so huge (and yes it has time theory entailed) that I have decided to pen a separate article to expound it better. But really, you need to watch it to experience that climactic relentless pile driver yourself.

You can pre-order Arrival movie here:


Music and Screenplay

The music of Arrival has been given by none other than 2 times Oscar nominee Johann Johannsson himself.  It is beautifully done, you have to live it to truly experience it. It being an art movie, limited words get spoken. But those that are there try to expand how huge the subject of language is. Also, there are pretty cool one-liners that don’t fail to titillate your ears every now and then. Like when Ian Donnelly confesses:

You know I’ve had my head tilted up to the stars for as long as I can remember. You know what surprised me the most? It wasn’t meeting them. It was meeting you.

What also constantly elevates the movie is an artful performance by Amy Adams. Being the lead protagonist, the driving force, the film basically revolves all around her. If it weren’t for her, things would have been really different. A nod to the movie casting there! Great Job.

The Final Verdict

Arrival is not for everybody. I learnt this the hard way as I was compelled to hear two of my friends, who accompanied me to watch the movie, snore profusely throughout the movie. It was ‘their’ loss of course. Because it was only by the time we reach the end that we get to learn the colossal secret. It wraps up beautifully around the concept that eludes us throughout. It almost brings back memories from Christopher Nolan‘s magnum opus Interstellar movie.

Read Interstellar movie review.

You know what else really makes me happy? It is the director’s next colossal project. It is none other than Denis Vileneuve himself who helms the Blade Runner sequel with Jared Leto and Harrison Ford in the vanguard. Can’t wait for that one as well.

You can check out the trailer of Arrival movie here:

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

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice Review (2016) | Adrenaline rush

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice is as dark as it gets. The world reeks of a Batsy who isn’t afraid to decimate, a misunderstood Sups trying to prove himself to the people, and a psychotic villain Lex who has bigger roguish plans in mind.

“You are not brave. Men are brave.”

THE MAMMOTH PROJECT

Zack Snyder tries to delve into an era that began it all. He had so much to cover in a screen time that allows only a part of our life to be fantastically get miracle-struck. There were so many characters to visit in Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice. So many criticalities to maintain without messing too much with the originality. So many action sequences to be covered, villainy to visit and a big gravitas to partake upon! Is he able to deliver? Yes! The end result is outrageously awesome!

DCEU CAPES HAVE COME

Lo! Behold! The DC Extended Universe has finally unfurled, with a proper pledge to hold the ground this time around with Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice. Zack has found a firm understructure that promises to write some impending tales of badass. We are left with open strings that are yet to find their knots and storylines that are about to become exceptional DC stories that will rummage out all extraordinary ideas in the open.

LEX LUTHOR PERVERSION

still of Jesse Eisenberg from Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice

We have finally found the Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice that we have been waiting for so long. Jesse Eisenberg nails a taut Luthor who is deranged, unhinged, has the right words in the mouth, crooked and who always seems to stay ahead of the curve. He has all the features that we expect to see in a LexCorp promenade. Watch out for his screenplay! Totally owns the show!

NOD TO BATFLECK

Ben Affleck walks in with the right mien right from the start as he keeps finding himself reasons to hate Superman more. The dread in his voice is real and he makes Batsy scarier and better. A nod there to Ben! Ye have been accepted!

still of Ben Affleck as Batman Batfleck in darkseid story rogue superman parallel dimension

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is brilliant too. Her entry chimes with superheroic pizzazz.

STUNNING VISUALS

Taking the levels of action-notch up a notch are Batman v Superman’s enthralling visual effects. A mind-boggling presentation that Zack scores with just the right angles! The bombardment and the annihilation come trundling from the graves of the extraordinaire. Adrenaline finds a new high!

MAGNIFICENT SCORE

Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL nail the flick’s music to perfection. Watch out for areas where the notes reach a new upbeat high, and tranches at alluring lows. Complements all frames magnificently!

SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ONWARDS

Even though there were ignorable bits in Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice that try to mess with the regular flow, the consequence ups the stage of all benchmarks set prior for action movies. The Bat fighting seq that we see portrays an action akin to the video games franchise. He is ruthless and isn’t afraid to bring the house down spearheading with sheer chaos, brings complete destruction with his fighting moves.

still of Batman delivering a superpunch at a hooligan in Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice

DOWNSIDES OF BATMAN V SUPERMAN DAWN OF JUSTICE

Things that the movie missed out on are in creating the right air for the Keefe preparation. The editing went shoddy there, as Zack fails to cash in on Scoot McNairy’s character, a talented actor who gets lost in an epic tale. Also, the parallel dimensional vision, even though a tad self-explanatory, I have reason to believe people might not have understood the reference. I could have used one step at a time rather than a hotchpotch.

Another bit, where Diana spends hours to see what is going on in the meta human department as daft references were made through video frames, was unnecessary and we could have lived without. One step at a time, again! Also, the scavenging for Kryptonite seemed a wee bit forced, primarily to make the superheroes encounter each other.

KNIGHT VS DAY

The big battle between the two in Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice doesn’t match the levels of what we have already perceived in comics and animated series. But it is still very good as Batsy keeps acing his blows with expert lines.

still of doomsday from batman v superman dawn of justice

 

Doomsday makes things even better with his presence. But I feel he deserves more screen time taking into consideration the kind of villain he is, and what he means to the comic world. We meet the popular Kryptonian end in this one, but we already knew how that was supposed to pan out! Didn’t we? 😉

Highly recommended for all DC lovers and action buffs! I choose to ignore Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie’s flaws for the sheer fact that I am a loco DC buff. So good, I am going to watch this flick again.

Doomsday is here! Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice first look

All hail Doomsday!

The most badass trailer of Superman vs Batman: Dawn of Justice has hit the world. He is here. The slayer of Superman! So we know him as. The reason Superman went missing from the comic universe for a while! He has finally made his entrance (a theatrical one) into the mainstream cinema, and he wouldn’t stop at nothing to do it again in front of zillions of live audience.

People who already know him from the DC universe have gone crazy. Those who don’t know him, the aforementioned plot details would suffice. We don’t want to spoil it for ya!

Looks: So yes even I was surprised when I saw him for the first time in the trailer. He looked more like a ninja turtle if it were not for his laser wielding eyes. Some have been abominating him saying he resembles The Abomination (The Incredible Hulk villain) from the Marvel universe. Ok yes the latter resemblance was quite uncanny. Also, where did the Doomsday mane go? His bones look great. He is big too. Boy I am reminiscent already! But we don’t really care, as long as Zack keeps the storyline awesome. I just want his direction to touch Nolan heights. And fingers crossed!

Straight from a movie doomsday laser

Something tells me, the storyline isn’t going to be exactly the same as that of the comics or the animated series. His origins from the trailer seem to be Zod’s DNA or something, with some rad Luthor perversion doing some black magic in the backdrop, which is totally unlike the original story.

Whatever the reason for his existence must be or whoever is bringing him to life, we are super-psyched to have him here and thrilled to finally see him get personified into a character that actually looks good.

The world accepts you Doomsday! Welcome!

The Unpredictable Academy: Snubs and Wins (2015)

Every year the Academy slips in a frowned spurn at a movie that is on everybody’s mind. This time ‘Boyhood’ became the bait. The coming-of-age tale that spread brilliantly over the span of 12 years, was a sure shot per se. But alas! the Oscars have a reputation in doing the unthinkable. ‘Birdman’ beat Linklater’s panache not only in Best Picture and Original Screenplay categories but also in Best Direction. The latter managed to hold its ground thanks to Patricia Arquette’s Supporting Actress win.

Not long ago when the Academy had pressed its Oscar sheet, the snubbing of great movies like ‘Foxcatcher’, ‘Big Eyes’, ‘The Lego Movie’ and great actors like Amy Adams, Jennifer Aniston, David Oyelowo, Helen Mirren, Bill Murray, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes and Christoph Waltz, had caught a lot of moss. Putting out Selma flame was a big rebuff this year since people claimed it to be a distinction on Academy’s part, not to mention the fact that a majority of voting members in the Oscar team are white.

Apart from the biggest surprise of the night, some more were strewn all along the event. Academy chose to ignore the ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ franchise once again giving precedence to ‘Big Hero 6’ in the animation department. Best Editing went to ‘Whiplash’ which again was a pie in the face for ‘Boyhood’. ‘American Sniper’ losing to ‘Whiplash’ in Sound Editing was another one. ‘Interstellar’ managed only one out of its five nominations. Surprise was Zimmer’s stunning score bowing down to Desplatic rhythm. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes overlooked in the Visual Effects department came as a big blow. However, it was a close call since Interstellar’s visuals were quite brilliant as well. It was great to see Glory glorified and Feast winning the Best Short Film Animated category. Winston just had to win 😉

Here is a short summary of what happened:

  • The Imitation Game (had 8 nominations, bagged 1)
  • Boyhood (had 6, bagged 1)
  • American Sniper (had 6, managed 1)
  • Birdman (had 9, got 4)
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (had 9, got 4)
  • Whiplash (had 5, got 3)
  • Interstellar (had 5, got 1)
  • Foxcatcher (had 5, received none)

‘Foxcatcher’ was overlooked big time. Given the amount of work Bennett Miller had put in to create the beauty, he needed a little Academy respect and attention. Steve Carell’s transformational looks as John du Pont at least deserved a Makeup and Hairstyling accolade.

Rumours have continuously surrounded the Academy owing to its big decisions which seem pretty biased sometimes. The one that exemplifies the obvious perfectly – Incessant snubbing of Leonardo DiCaprio despite outstanding performances throughout his life. Academy even failed to recognize exceptional knacks of Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater last night. Both are yet to bag an Oscar, and that is just sad.

I picture Academy as one old crude witch, who just loves to see the world burn. If you have a favorite the Academy would snub it and shout “In your face!” in your face. Mainstream movies never even make it to the list.

Whatever the hammer says hardly bothers us though. We know for sure, nothing is really lost. The shattered are still celebrated. We still have incredible movies to watch thanks to sensational efforts put in by excellent directors, actors and the remaining crew.

If you didn’t make it, we don’t really care. Academy is just a bunch of people with their scathing point of view. If you consider all of us – people who watch you from every corner of the world, who care about every single thought you conceived to carve something beautiful, who praise your extraordinary efforts to create what we can only imagine, those who really love your work, who really encourage you do the exceptional, the real movie buffs, for us, you are still our winners! You will never lose! Let us raise one to that!