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Collateral Beauty Review (2016) | It Sounds Good But It Isn’t

Okay we get it. The theme of Collateral Beauty was purely based on grief, and so it had all the good actors attracted to it naturally. They had a beautiful imaginative script, and if you read something like that on a paper, it does sound good. Unfortunately when you try to play it, it becomes plain stupid. That’s what happened with the gloomy David Frankel project.

Plot and Direction of Collateral Beauty (Spoilers)

All fingers don’t just point towards Allan Loeb‘s sad script, one of the middle one points towards the movie’s direction too. David Frankel still has a lot to learn about subtlety. It’s absence shows in his work at so many occasions that it makes you want to shake your head. You end up getting a cramp because it is lodged throughout the flick.

To begin with let’s take the character of Will Smith into account. Howard is a man that snaps out right at the prologue. He doesn’t hand us over even a second to relate to him. Then you think maybe, just maybe, the reason for his anguish might be inbound for a thorough melodramatic coverage in the later half, and that it would help us come to his frequency. But unfortunately you never crack his psychotic level at all. Very unconvincing!

The description of his grief starts when his co-workers Claire, Whit and Simon, played by Kate Winslet, Edward Norton and Michael Pena respectively, gossip behind his back talking about the why, the what and the how of “aftermath daughter death”. It flings us into the primal plot almost immediately. So, we actually know the paramount reason right in the beginning of the movie itself.

image of Will Smith as Howard in Collateral Beauty

Then starts dispensable charades. Tons of them actually, where you see Howard nodding his head in agreement as if listening to what people are saying to him, and then deliberately ignoring them. Then we see Claire leaving things for him that stay untouched. Whit trying to come up with ideas that puts questions against his friendship with Howard. Oh! oh! and Simon, Michael Pena’s character begins to cough suddenly out of nowhere just for the sake of creating sub-plots.

Laughable sub-plots

The sub-plots. Don’t even get me started on them! Horrible! Why were they even there in the first place? Oh right unless the writer wanted to come back to it at a later point? Heights of the platitude!

Movie tries to personify love, time and death. And it does so with characters of Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley and Jacob Latimore. Then you see these characters suddenly focus their spotlight towards people who had hired them instead. Stories you don’t want to worry about suddenly becomes their prime concern. And these issues are so irrelevant to the main tale, that you know for sure something’s up. And then lo! You can see through it all. All of it! You see the predictable climax appear from far away.

The only thing you don’t see coming is Madeleine‘s bizarre angle portrayed by Naomie Harris, which shows us Howard visiting her as a stranger. And the only reason you don’t see that coming is because they both act like absolute strangers. But even when that gets uploaded on the big screen, you can’t help but giggle.

The Goodies

Focusing on the good stuff, as I generally do, Will Smith goes in full acting mode when he tries to overcome figments of his head. When he shouts at them trying to justify his case, he leaves them in a vexed mode. That’s where you get to see his wound slash open. So if you are a Will Smith diehard fan you are going to enjoy that incessant frown on his head.

Also, you see Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren and Edward Norton toil really hard to deliver their bits. Even though it appears like a resounding debacle, never for a second they let you feel anything amiss. There is real pain in Kate’s

“I am really sorry, Howard!”

and there’s genuine concern in them Norton eyes for his daughter. Real blush lurks on the semblance of Keira and there’s real distress in Smith’s eyes.

You can pre-order Collateral Beauty from here:

Screenplay

Screenplay is so cliched that it hurts your ears when you try to listen to them. Okay I am exaggerating there. What is worse is that it gets delivered by theater actors (at least that was intended in the first place) who think a cliched definition is all a grieving person needs to listen to.  Some of them are actually pretty good too, but the smart stuff is intentionally kept for the hero to deliver.

The Final Verdict

It’s almost as if I tell you the story of Collateral Beauty you might actually like it, and not think of it as something cheesy. But when you actually see it get dramatized and performed by actors you begin to realize how idiotic it truly looks, and that it was better off as a script unplayed.

Despite Collateral Beauty has stellar actors in the vanguard, it falls owing to its unrealistic and super contrived look and feel. Some scenes are simply out of the blue and context for that to matter.

It could have been so much better if David Frankel had decided not to helm it. Even better handed it over to Spike Jonze instead and taken some time off to concentrate on comedies instead.

You can check out the trailer of Collateral Beauty movie here:

Carol Review (2015)

An alluring take on same-sex love!

Carol isn’t just a self-exploration sojourn of Therese Belivet; it is so much more. With an enchanting screenplay to keep us company, Carol walks with a constant finesse depicting human emotions in a beautiful way. You can’t help but feel for the characters as they carry the right gusto in their acts.

Rooney Mara is simply outstanding. She carries a face of innocence that reads confusion quite often, whilst trying to learn the ways of her character. Coming to her aid is the voluptuous Carol Aird played by Cate Blanchett, whose life is torn apart owing to an ongoing divorce scene that hurls her into fits of melancholia.

SPOILERS:

The way Todd Haynes traverses the camera from a gutter to a third person perspective by capturing the rattling and chugging of a train in the backdrop, to reach the protagonists having a conversation on a table speaks volume of his sheer genius. Right there the prologue gets painted, and memories gush in from the past through the mist of the car window, as Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) gawks at the city, being indifferent to the talks of the mundane.

It is a beautiful way of depicting movie frames which Haynes seems to have mastered. He nails them like a pro. Complements Todd brilliantly in the background with an enthralling profound score is Carter Burwell, whose music is placed at right scenes, to make you feel the flick’s endearing rhythm.

“My angel, flung out of space.”

Love has so many forms. It goes beyond age and sex, and Patricia Highsmith’s story couldn’t cover it better. With a genius like Todd to help us crawl alongside the frames, the movie forever stays in empathetic waters. With spectacular performances by Cate and Rooney, the movie reaches a pinnacle of emotions. Little things, like when Therese notices minute details in Carol whilst she drives, and when she shows up eventually with a quivering heart hoping that she would see her are all brilliantly shot.

The movie’s drama at times misses on milking Carol’s love for Therese. Her life’s atrocities fail to cash in on the love she feels for Therese, and that’s where the flick appears to have dwindled. But still Haynes manages to keep the juices flowing and what we have in the end is a magnificent project in melodrama.

Highly recommended!

Legend Review (2015)

“Love is a witness.”

Tom Hardy’s “the double project” Legend rams into the average door. So what takes it down the gnawing jaws of mediocrity? The plot! Yes the plot! Wish they had thought it through before helming it.

The drama isn’t engaging at all. There is a constant upbeat score that keeps going in the background that makes sure of it. You almost know you are in for some humour and constant light-hearted melodrama. So things work until you see some serious business going on.

The biopic had a lot of potential if the story building was given a proper look-see. But unfortunately the direction takes a weird sluggish pit stop as it proceeds with the Frances-Reggie sub-plot to bring the tale to fruition. A lot of real facts in the Kray dictionary go down the toilet as John Pearson’s story tries to concentrate more on Frances and Reggie than the twin story itself.

Screenplay is good at times, however not enough to drop the anvil. You also wish the direction to be a little more engaging. You feel this sudden need for more humour, more drama and more colours into the “not so kray-onic” world of gangsters. When the movie gets over, you instantly feel the void all the aforementioned absent elements leave you with.

The only reason you should watch this movie for is Tom Hardy. Watch him turn into something else yet again. This time he gets to play two of ‘em in a single flick. Both his personalities are very different from each other. He wears two different voices (one’s a monotone where he chews on his words mostly) quite gorgeously. You will marvel at his walk, the way he talks and reacts to a situation. It is both ballsy and reckless at the same time.

PROBABLE SPOILERS:

In the movie Legend, the chemistry between Frances and Reggie was terribly missing. Wished Tom Hardy’s Reggie to be a more feeling kind. His acting at other junctures is simply outstanding though. Like when we get a glimpse of his rad provoked anger at a badass moment when he stabs the hell out of Jack McVitie. It was probably the most memorable thing in the entire movie. That and the fight between the twins which was quite hilarious and emotional at the same time.

Go watch Legend if you wish to have a little glimpse into the history of the Krays and the London mafia scene back then. That and if you are a Hardy boy!