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Hell or High Water Review (2016) | David Mackenzie Helms Another Masterpiece

Another great year for Taylor Sheridan as he writes another gorgeous piece Hell or High Water right after registering the extraordinary 2015 flick Sicario in the Hollywood books. The movie directed by David Mackenzie is a story of two brothers who set out on a bank robbery spree to save their family ranch in West Texas.

The beauty of Hell or High Water lies in its rugged originality, in its deadpan words that reflect reality. The way the movie trundles on its Western look and feel without losing sight of its true objective makes it an outright winner.

Direction of Hell or High Water Movie

I just love David Mackenzie’s direction. It pays utmost attention to character bearings, their talking mannerism, calm comportment at adverse times and the right on delivery of their dry humor. In his direction of the flick, he doesn’t miss out on acing the Western vista. The effortless flair is invariably there.

hell or high water brothers chris pine and ben foster

Then it is the way he lingers on a scene, until he squeezes out every bit of acting from his characters. His every scene stays definitive and complete giving the viewers plenty of perspective into the tale. Then the context of a relationship that he binds so beautifully with its characters goofing around with each other is amazing too. Even though there was a lot of Taylor Sheridan to it, Mackenzie just nails it, hands down.

Plot and the Pairing Up

While the movie banks on its robbing brothers Toby and Tanner portrayed by Chris Pine and Ben Foster perfectly to show one side of the tale, we have Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham as Marcus Hamilton and Alberto Parker silently working for the right side. The Howard brothers are the rampaging loners who steer the story forward.

Lord of the Plains.

Constantly pulling each other’s legs are Alberto and Marcus who are trying to hunt the brethren down. It is their chemistry that makes the movie a genial hoot.

Whilst the plot might sound like a bit cliched given the number of “bank job” movies that are out there, the reason here is a tad different. Toby and Tanner are trying to save their ranch, that is up for foreclosure. They have found oil in it, meaning a perfect life  for posterity. The only way out they see is by plundering banks. They are burying their four wheeler alibis in their property that can’t be touched. They wipe off their traces making it impossible for the cops to figure out the who. In short, they are really smart.

But with an even smarter cop they don’t stray far away. You can see Marcus getting closer to them with his instincts. Eventually a shootout breaks wherein Tanner loses it. Sniping Alberto he tags himself under the cross-hair of Marcus. And pays the price with his life. Toby goes on to purchase the ranch, thus earning loads of money, securing the future of his estranged children.

We are served an awesome standoff in the end where we find them pressed against each other. Yet the movie just ends with a threat in disguise leaving of what might ensue to viewer’s imagination.

Crime Movies

It must be very well understood what a crime movie tries to achieve. There’s always going to be the good side as long as their is bad in the world. There needs to be someone or something vilifying and cooling down the damage done . So no matter how badass the villainy might seem, or how likable a wicked character ends up becoming, eventually it has go down under the truck.

Toby: You talk like we ain’t gonna get away with this.

Tanner: I’ve never met nobody who got away with anything, ever.

But then there is that character akin to Robin Hood, who did whatever he did for the impoverished and the weak. He justifies the things that he has done. He is exonerated in the eyes of the public since he was doing the right thing. And not doing it just for the heck of it. He did not kill anybody and did not commit a crime so horrendous that could not be forgiven.

Toby and Tanner are paragons of such characters. Also, there is nothing above the law. No amount of good you do after you have done something bad can wipe that slate clean. Here, Marcus stays the epitome of law.

You can order Hell or High Water here:

Awesome Scenes to Watch Out For (Spoilers Ahead)

Hell or High Water doesn’t run short on its ultimate tinge of badassery. Like that scene wherein Tanner Howard stares blankly at a sporty car that stops at the gas station. And the owner is a bloke with a gun who feels offended of him gawking.

Boy, you’d think there were 10 of me.

The camera is placed such so you can see Toby making his way back from the shop. And then as things were beginning to get ugly Toby arrives just in the nick of time to literally destroy the poor guy. That’s one hell of an adrenaline rush.

Then there is that slapstick wit, that savoury tang that is always lurking in Tanner’s mouth. Like the time when he is intimidated by Bear who says:

I am a Comanche. Do you know what it means? It means ‘Enemy to everyone’.

Tanner who can’t be messed with either responds almost immediately with a comeback:

Do you know what that makes me? A Comanche.

The Final Verdict

Hell or High Water is a beautiful movie that is made even better by its entire Western setup and its splendid screenplay. Powerful performances by its characters make it thoroughly enjoyable. It never strays from its cardinal crux – come what may , thus justifying the title as well. A David Mackenzie beauty that should not be missed.

You can check out the trailer of Hell or High Water movie here:

 

Inferno Movie Review (2016) | Robert Langdon Burns in Inferno’s Mediocrity

Skipping The Lost Symbol altogether Ron Howard was asked to do the Inferno movie instead. Unfortunately, Ron’s Robert Langdon franchise isn’t really doing so great when you take into account the colossal success of Dan Brown’s books. Do you wonder – is it because of Ron Howard’s direction? Or whether is it because it takes away almost everything from a book when a director is trying to give us a gist through his frames. The latter, right?

Well that’s an enclave we cannot help moving towards, given the limited time frame allotted to directors. But then of course there are things that we could definitely furbish so that the end result doesn’t look all impoverished in sheer adequacy at least.

INFERNO MOVIE PLOT

Inferno finds Tom Hanks reprise his role as the renowned professor Robert Langdon yet again. This time however he is shaken and messed up by what looks like a probable head injury. He wakes up in a hospital with Dr. Sienna Brooks played by Felicity Jones tending to him. Soon bullets ensue coming from a stout Vayentha. What follows is a quest to figure out what, who and why someone had him drugged whilst trying to decode Dante’s morphed map of hell that he found in a Faraday pointer in his belongings.

still of Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones in Inferno movie

The attempt is then to foil a deadly plan of mass killing that Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), a billionaire debatable visionary has hidden in an unknown place. Inferno movie retains a great culminating point (which was terribly shown) which basically helps it to fight the franchise’s redundancy. But alas! It’s not enough!

DOZENS OF ISSUES (SPOILERS AHEAD)

The beauty of a Dan Brown novel lies in the fact that you are constantly decrypting codes alongside protagonists. That’s where the thrill lies. Figuring everything out by yourself, that makes you feel kind of intelligible. Au contraire, a movie however gambols on leaving you with a distasteful serum. You are trying to figure out something, but you realize the actor has already figured it out. That’s where the blame to ‘movie editing’ should really flare toward.

Glimpses that Robert Langdon see of Inferno, though abounding with theatrics vex you too much with their flickering lights. It doesn’t let you garb frames in a proper focus. Sometimes you can’t help but wonder where did Howard’s tranquility go?

Then the worst one is how Ron Howard decides to mess with the story. We find Elizabeth Sinskey portrayed by Sidse Babett Knudsen as Robert Langdon’s former love interest. In an attempt to slow down a bit, Ron keeps stretching their absent chemistry beyond limit. It is almost as if he rushed in towards the ending just to reach a dead end. That’s where the movie actually slows down a bit, and lets you swallow focus. But really! We could have lived without that cheap twist Ron.

Even though the betrayal and it’s follow up was brilliantly shot, Ron Howard went as far as to change the ending. According to Ron, Sienna ends up becoming the ‘immature’ girl in the Inferno movie, which wasn’t really the case.

CONTRASTING ACTORS

One of those actors who seemed to be acting extraordinarily well for a highly paced movie was Irrfan Khan. His flair for dialogues as he broods for a while before delivering his lines brings along all the experience he has garnered over the years as an actor. His portrayal of Harry Sims The Provost though limited was beautifully carved.

still of irrfan khan as Harry Sims The Provost in inferno movie

Then there was the worst one too. Christoph Bouchard, portrayed by Omar Sy ladies and gentleman! even though he is a good actor, he seems a tad out of place. As if it wasn’t supposed to be his timeline at all. There is no subtlety when he assigns his agents to follow up a feigned lead, and then goes to contact Langdon and Brooks.

So now you know Dan Brown books are way better than the movies, you can order the illustrative Inferno book from here:

THE FINAL VERDICT

As the old maxim goes, “Read the book!”, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to watch Robert Langdon movies. All that Dan Brown knowledge that slithers on to cryptic leaflets go poof, if you choose to watch its movie instead. Ron Howard has never really done Dan’s books justice, like ever. It is time someone else gets into his shoes, or even better try to helm a slow paced pensive thrilling TV series. Now that would do him justice!

You can check out the Inferno movie trailer here:

Warcraft Review (2016)

Warcraft is badly in need of a director like Peter Jackson.

You see what Peter Jackson did to The Lord of the Rings franchise, Duncan Jones doesn’t even come close to nailing. The World of Warcraft is brimming up with extraordinary stories that are in need of better helming, and even though Duncan Jones is a good director, he ends up moderating the game.

SHORTCOMINGS OF WARCRAFT

The movie picks off at an interesting juncture, right amidst a rad depiction from an Orcish vantage with a badass music to kick-start. But then soon its shortcomings come sieving to the banks. The first amongst it was the way the frames were being changed. Artful as Duncan used to be, in awesome movies like the Moon and Source Code, you don’t really expect him to hit that low. Right betwixt a good scene he would chop off a frame, changing it without caring to sustain viewer emotions. At one point it seemed fine, but then it kept happening throughout the flick.

To top that all not everybody is into Warcraft. So, if you are making a movie about a game that has millions of fans, you really need to start off slow, gradually trying to allure non-fans into this majestic world you are trying to create. Warcraft fails to do that. Half of the time you aren’t even aware, what’s what and who’s who.

No doubt there are mesmerizing scenes in the movie that will leave you wanting for more, but the tale somehow gets clouded owing to a persisting disconnect. CGI is really good but the screenplay has nothing to offer. The editing is quite poor as well. Plot is awesome but you just wish it was manifested in a better way.

SPOILER PORTAL AHEAD

Travis Fimmel was a brilliant blend of badass and finesse as he takes the character of Lothar to great heights. Paula Patton as Garona is good too. Ben Foster does a great Guardian Medivh who unfortunately keeps succumbing to weakness.

Focusing on the high points of the movie, the clash between Durotan and Gul’dan was a good one. Also, whenever Lothar came into the picture with his sword, you would instantly know that an Orc is going to be ripped apart. The part where he tries to save his son by doing everything he could to get through Guardian’s magic was magnificent. At times camera takes a satellite view showing wars across the Warcraft realm which is reminiscent of the game.

THE FINAL HUMAN VERDICT

Despite all the good stuff it had, you end up overlooking everything owing to the sour taste it leaves you with in your palate. I really wish a good director picks Warcraft up to make its future sequels.

The Finest Hours Review (2016)

A survivor tale that goes dodgy mid-way, scrabbles towards the end with an insipid feel.

Unfortunately for this one, I can’t say my two hours were the finest hours of my life. The movie’s dramatic quotient is bland.

SPOILERS:

Chris Pine is an absent unimpressive Coast Guard hero who seemed oddly placed in the shoes of Bernie Webber. Ok, so he was trying to depict a sheepish introvert, yet Craig Gillespie just makes him disappear like an apparition. He does the opposite with Ray Sybert played brilliantly by Casey Affleck though, the guy who kept the Pendleton afloat for hours in a punishing storm. Casey looked engrossed in his job, very intelligent, and despite being scared was trying to save lives of the people around. Ray, au contraire, just wanted to get married to Miriam, and follow orders. It seemed in the beginning the way he slouched around with his team that he didn’t really care about people’s endangered lives.

Screenplay is very shoddy, doesn’t have anything interesting for word-freaks. The love story that Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias have endeavoured to weave makes you indifferent towards their romance. It starts out pretty good though but then is lanced by mediocre lines, and unfelt romance. Editing is below average and often makes you wonder out loud what should have been shown and what we could have lived without.

There is literally at one point a “What-the-hell” moment when Miriam Webber walks into the office of the Coast Guard, and refuses to leave, and “orders” the Coast Guard officer to bring the boys back. When Daniel Cluff (played by Eric Bana) retorts, she storms off in her car only too drive into a snow mound. I mean, that entire affair will make you go “Whaaaaaaaaat!” It was supposed to be subtly written and should have packed in the right amount of sentiment, which was clearly missing. But it all seemed so stupid with her weird acting that you can’t really shake it off.

The Finest Hours misses big time on its much needed emotional trauma. You don’t feel a thing for anybody. If it was helmed properly, you would. At the end of the movie, Bernie doesn’t get a hero’s welcome as he disembarks the CG-36500, but rather his lover’s warmth, which leaves you actually vexed. You wish it was milked more or maybe shown in subtlety.

The Finest Hours is good but it could have plunged in better waters to be honest. A one time watch if you want to know about the Coast Guard bravado, a rare feat that saved 32 lives on just a mere lifeboat.