Mira Nair’s movie Queen of Katwe is a stunning sports biopic that rhymes with the life of Phiona Mutesi, the chess prodigy with an impoverished devastating childhood. Phiona belonged to one of the largest slums of Kampala, so you can imagine how destitute she really was, growing up.
A powerful brain like that of hers was dying in that dreamless muck without any self-realization, selling maize and trying to earn an elusive livelihood. It was only until one day Phiona found her interest piqued by a game of chess that left her at her life’s biggest turning points.
Queen of Katwe is the story of Phiona Mutesi’s gradual rise, from the hollows of abysmal conditions to a place where dreams get helmed. Of course none of it would have been possible if it were not for Robert Katende, the coach who never gave up on her, and saw her through every hurdle.
THE BEAUTY OF CHESS
Chess is hands down one of the most highly addictive games ever made. It makes you smarter and better. It presents you with a keener decisive brain. The brushing up it does is simply profound. Chess remains eloquent too. Its pieces speak of ideas that promise to mould you into a winner with time. In a way it reflects life itself. To choose to make a movie on something so vast was a winning move per se.
Queen of Katwe uses illustrations galore from the 64 blocks vague labyrinth where wars are fought invariably. William Wheeler uses plenty of lines that work in sync with the game to embellish the sport further. For example, this doesn’t go unnoticed when little Gloria tries to explain Promotion in chess.
“I call it Queening. In chess, the small one can become the big one. That’s why I like it!”
The movie appalls you when you look at the lifestyle of the Ugandan slum. To impart you a drastic angle, in comes the very brilliant and convincing portrayal of Nakku Harriet, performed by Lupita Nyong’o. She lets you witness evil manacles of poverty and shows you the blunt ugly side of her fate, trying to raise four children all by herself. You can’t help but feel extremely sorry for her. The destitution that grows on upon her family is really unfortunate to watch.
But Phiona fights it all, fights it with the army she retains on a sheer board.
“Chess is a game of fighting. These pieces are my army.”
Madina Nalwanga‘s portrayal of Phiona Mutesi is brilliant too. A dream of becoming the Grandmaster that breathed in her mind comes alive when she goes on a conquering spree. It is nerve-racking to see her break down when she finds her dreams being crushed by privation. Also, the time when she shatters on falling from a mountain of overconfidence tingles your eyes. All of it has been beautifully depicted.
At the same time, you cannot ignore Robert Katende played beautifully by David Oyelowo. He remains the soul of Queen of Katwe movie trying at all times, his level best to uplift lost spirits. There is a teacher in him that constantly bellows streams of potency letting his children “The Pioneers” stand against the world. For that he is ready to make even colossal sacrifices that compels to you shower all accolades on him. He is a true champ!
If you wish to pre-order the movie DVD from Amazon, you can do it from here:
DIRECTION OF QUEEN OF KATWE
Mira Nair is quite a director, you must say. Not for a moment does she dwindle as she progresses towards the finish line. Eventually she ices it all with a pragmatic depiction of real life characters standing next to their actors. A subtle way of paying homage!
If you try hard to look at the downsides I would say the first one is its language. Since, actors were forced to speak broken English things start appearing a tad contrived. Also, as mentioned above, chess is an amazing game. The beauty of the sport never really comes out talking in the open. This was primarily done in order to avoid indifference coming from non-playing audience. But, really we could have done with a proper nail-biting depiction of one game at least. Also, it scores a tad less in dramatic horizons considering titanic tears the script demanded.
At the same time, movie isn’t all bleak either. If you scour for hilarity you will find Benjamin another prodigy, played by Ethan Nazario Lubega as one of the most fun characters in the movie. The little fella brightens you up whenever he comes on screen.
THE FINAL VERDICT
Queen of Katwe is too good a movie for a Disney movie. We have seen how medicore Disney results have been in the past. But this Mira Nair beauty beats them all. It is also one of those rare great sports movie that puts your faith back in games again. Do watch!
The Little Prince happened to me in the form of this movie. I didn’t have a clue, a story so colossal hid all this time from me. Le Petit Prince, the original product of the extraordinary brain of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, was published in the year 1943. It has found numerous collaborations over the years, all countless beautiful contributions hands down.
The Little Prince Overview
One of the best-selling books ever published, Le Petit Prince’s story is more of a parable that criticizes human nature with elements existing in real life. It chooses the character of a little lad with a huge brain whose words will literally open the insensible vaults of your brain. It does all of it using its clever flair by making allusions to mundane pointless characters that surround us in every area.
The Little Prince movie is a different take on the Le Petit Prince story. Even though it makes a few changes, introduces a fresher perspective, does some minor additions and subtractions here and there, it still doesn’t stop being less awesome.
Music of the Little Prince
You listen to the Preparation play and you will know how beautiful the composition is. None other than Hans Zimmer frontlines its beautiful score. He stays well complemented at all times by Richard Harvey. They create magic!
You can listen to the Preparation here:
The Plot of The Little Prince Movie: Spoilers Ahead
Words fail to describe how much relatable I found The Little Prince movie to be. To begin with, it eases in with a drawing of a boa constrictor trying to digest an elephant in its stomach. Showing how adults crush images in a child’s head, steering them away from their dreams, goes on to show how crass people’s imaginations are. They give precedence to things that are not worth paying attention to, and in their blunt obstinacy create robots just like them.
Then we are introduced to a little girl voiced by Mackenzie Foy (of the Interstellar fame) who is on her way to become a carbon copy of her mother. Discipline, perfection and non-stop studies are ways of her life, until one day she finds the first page of The Little Prince story. Her neighbor The Aviator voiced by Jeff Bridges strikes up a friendship chord with her and she discovers for the first time the brilliance in fancy. The story of the Little Prince penned by The Aviator piques her interest and she keeps visiting him to know more about it.
“When a mystery is too overpowering, one may not disobey.”
I loved the way how contrasting frames are picked up. It’s a perfect blend that draws awe right away. Like when the old man blows pain away from the girl’s hands, the air goes on to tremble the grass with its stop motion animation in the Little Prince’s story. Also, I loved how when she picks up a shell against her ears to find the voice of sea in it.
“As you live, some things kind of just stick to you.
Mark Osborne uses a magnificent set of stop motion animation to weave the Little Prince’s original tale. The prince goes on to narrate his story to the aviator of how he met his rose, and about his sojourn therefrom.
There are metaphors galore, even in its subtle personification. Falling in love with a rose is actually insinuating falling in love with a girl.
The Little Prince: “You are perfect.”
Rose: “Am I not? I was born the same moment as the sun.”
The rad depiction of how the little prince just sits there, trying to reason with a vain Rose, how circumstances change the course of the planet and they end up sitting against each other have been beautifully animated.
“The shame of it was that they loved each other. But they were both too young to know how to love.”
The Rose realizes its mistake, and tries to apologize:
“Of course I love you. If you are not aware of that, it’s my fault.”
Gloom lurks nevertheless in those button like eyes of the prince. You can make it all out with Osborne’s thoughtful depiction of dusk as he covers the Prince up in a glum demeanour.
“I would very much like to see a sunset. It would remind me of my rose.”
You can grab the DVD of The Little Prince movie here:
Characters: Reflections of Societal Elements
Biding somewhat by the original, wherein the Little Prince met six, here he meets three of the characters inhabiting asteroids. All of the three are uncanny lives that have been critiqued beautifully. One is a king without subjects who has a feigned sense of power and has nobody to rule over, very much suggestive of impersonators.
Then there is that narcissistic element, the conceited man who just can’t wait to garner more praises. Reflective of how people run for vanity, even though it doesn’t earn them any strata. The third one is the Businessman who simply spends day counting stars which reflects people in real lives who are after money and materialism.
“What good does it do you to be rich?”
After knowing about all such characters in the little prince, the little girl realizes how grownups do not know what they are really after. They stay under the schism of immaterial things. She considers them really odd.
There is one brilliantly shot scene where the little girl is drinking from her glass, and from the bottom of it she realizes that her mother too is caught and lost in one asteroid, one planet of her own, just like those characters from The Little Prince tale.
“I am not so sure I wanna grow up any more.”
To that the old Aviator explains:
“Growing up is not the problem. Forgetting is.”
The Prince Resumes his Tale
The Little Prince story continues with the prince finding a snake in the desert on Earth. He doesn’t find anybody else, and inquires:
“Where are the men? It is a little lonely in the desert.”
To which the snake replies:
“It is also lonely among men.”
Taming a Fox
It is then when he finds not a cunning, rather a clever fox and strikes up a chord.
“To me you will be unique in all the world. And to you I shall be unique in all the world.”
On coming across a rosebush, the prince becomes sad for he thought his rose was the only one in the whole universe.
“My rose is just a common rose? But she told me she was the only one of her kind in the whole universe.”
Trying to reason with the prince, the fox expounds:
“But she is not a common rose. She is your rose. It is the time that you have devoted to her that makes your rose so important.”
With that the fox asks him to find her, dropping this beauty of a line:
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
When the little girl outside the tale tries to understand why did the prince leave the fox, the aviator explains her the importance of moving on.
“The fox, he sees the little Prince when he looks with his heart. If you can do that you will never be lonely again.”
Along with that he also tries to insinuate that he would one day leave too. The girl manages with a heavy heart:
“But I need you here.”
It is so sad that it brings tears to your eyes.
The Inevitable Showdown with her Mother
The showdown was always on the cards, since the little girl was always sneaking up, and lying to her mother. When it does finally happen, the girl stands up with:
“That’s your version of my life. Not mine. If you were ever around, you’d see that.”
Too blind to see the apparent, her mother tears her prince’s story pages and throws it in the dust bin. I loved the bit how she tapes it back, and the animation shows us then the desert in tapes. Beautifully thought of!
Words of wisdom keep spewing amidst the laughter of the prince, as the girl reads about him through her taped pages.
“The stars are beautiful because of a flower that cannot be seen. What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.”
In comes big advices that will leave you brooding:
“The men where you live grow thousands of roses, and they do not find what they are looking for. What they are looking for can be found in a single rose or a little water.”
The conversation of the aviator and the little girl is meanwhile the most nerve-racking kind. He says:
“When the moment does come for me to leave, I have to go alone.”
She tries to tell him she wishes to come too, not knowing he talks of death.
“Don’t go without me.”
Coming Out of The Little Prince’s Tale
The Little Prince meanwhile is bidding final adieu to the Aviator after telling him about his tale, and the fact that the snake has promised to end his misery rattles in the backdrop. He is trying to reason with:
“What is most important is invisible.”
As a parting gift he tells the aviator:
“In one of those stars, I shall be living. In one of them, I shall be laughing. And so when you look up at the sky at night, it will be as if all the stars are laughing.”
With that the snake bites the little prince, beautifully animated again making it disappear with a shimmer.
When the aforementioned is shared with the little girl, it bums her out. She doesn’t like how the story ends, incomplete with the little prince swaying in the stars without requiting to his lost waiting rose.
“I will grow up but I will never be a grown up like you.”
In that conversation with the aviator, she is angry at him for forgetting and disregarding the little prince. She remarks how he lost all hope, and forgot about fancy.
“You have forgotten everything, you have just become one of the grownups.”
She is mad at him beyond limit, and decides to return to her home for good. She doesn’t want to see him again, and days pass by. Her life continues with the same tinge of the stagnancy.
Once while returning, she finds the old aviator being taken to the hospital. It’s then when she feels truly sorry and runs for him like crazy. It is one of the most emotional segments of the movie, when she doesn’t stop at nothing to go see him.
The Second Story: Movie Addition
With an aim to rekindle the prince with its rose, she decides to embark the plane. Meaning she wishes to change the ending to the original. That’s when we are introduced to the second part of the story.
It is more like a different world, where characters have lost their purposes. It is a bizarre setup and for a second you start thinking that maybe the girl did start the plane, maybe she did go to a different planet, but then with the oddity, things fall in place. In reality, the girl simply tries to finish the tale with a happy ending, but from a different vantage.
There she meets all of those characters in different shoes, and ultimately the little prince who is all grown up. Her quest to take him to the rose meets fruition when they alight at the prince’s planet.
Grab your copy of The Little Prince Book here:
The final moments are the moments of epiphany for her, when despite everything she does the rose ends up dying, and withering away.
“You are supposed to be with her. I am gonna lose him too. And grow up. And forget all about him. Forget it all, forever. I don’t wanna lose him.”
It decimates you listening to her in despair. But when she realizes, with the hopeful eyes of the little prince, that all it takes is a glint of remembrance, she realizes what she wasn’t seeing.
“She was not a common rose. She was the only one of her kind in the whole universe. I remember her. I remember all of it. She is not gone. She is still here. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.”
She concurs having a vision too.
“He will always be with me. I understand now.”
Meeting the Aviator in the Hospital
Coming back to the real world, she goes with her “changed” mother to the hospital to see the old aviator again. She offers him the book that had his pages and hers, then shattering into pieces in front of him.
“You run the risk of weeping a little, if you let yourself get tamed.”
The movie ends with her mother spending time with her, trying to see the world with a child like gusto. That one star that the little prince had promised would laugh from, then concludes this epic tale.
I recommend every one to watch this movie, if you haven’t ever come across The Little Prince before. Highly recommended stuff.
You can check out the trailer of The Little Prince here:
Batman The Killing Joke walks in with that same old stunning Joker lore with a bit of Barbara’s emotional turmoil hooked to it. We find Paris Franz here, another badass villain that talks through the smug of a pyscho, and you can’t help but wonder about the similarities he shares with Batman’s archenemy Joker himself.
It’s like he’s fallen off the face of the Earth.
There are two main stories galloping here. Halfway through the movie, you can’t stop yourself from appreciating what you are served – extraordinary psychopathic Paris Franz story with Barbara’s constant battle with herself to confess her love for Batsy. But then the later half gradually degrades, without a strong cemented backbone to uplift the story. No doubt The Joker was magnificent as ever, but the story falls down in respect to Joker’s evilness as it reaches climax.
STORIES IN BATMAN THE KILLING JOKE (SPOILERS INCLUDED)
There is an ambiguous disconnect between two main story-lines, that seem to work in different parts of Batman The Killing Joke. We have an exciting, ballsy, different and emotional tale to the Batman-Batgirl relationship that continue with Joker shenanigans that try to rampage past human sanity.
THE FIRST PLOT: PARIS FRANZ QUANDARY
BATA starts off with a diegesis of sorts, Batgirl narrating her story beautifully. Animation keeping up with her as she scales down the city explaining rare accounts from her head. This side of the vantage is well thought of and well written. It engulfs you almost instantly.
I realize this is probably not how you thought the story would start, not with a big shiny moon or a city that or me.
A smug introduction to a titular Paris Franz character compels you to ponder upon those rare shades of psychopaths that the city of Gotham houses. He pulls off the villainy fairly well until he is battered down by the decimating Batgirl fury, which was actually nothing but a vent from her relationship trauma. You will see how smug Paris Franz is, and how cool he behaves even when there is someone breathing down his neck. That rare air of confidence helps Paris Franz to ace perversion in a way it never has been before.
Batman’s portrayal will bring all those memories back from the past. The way he puts it:
You haven’t been taken to the edge yet. The abyss, the place where you don’t care anymore. Where all hope dies.
Barbara’s constant reasoning with herself to win a dead man’s love will have you feel sorry for her. Her emotions are so real that it beats the inanimate off the CGI. Her incessant scrimmaging with herself to prove herself, to prove her love for Batman, is as gorgeous as she looks in Batman The Killing Joke.
The beauty of it all as they make love right underneath a Gargoyle silently watching on a rooftop, is so poetic that you can’t help getting mesmerized by its sheer description. Brilliantly pulled off!
As she describes it:
It was fantastic, like fireworks.
The aftermath – the avoidance, brims her up with thousand questions. There is poetry everywhere. When she sits amongst pigeons like a delicate bird she is, for hours thinking about him. It is an enchanting frame.
Maybe it was too soon, even after all this time.
Unfortunately she ends up getting devoured by the ugly side of insanity, and makes one of the most difficult choices of her life. Leaving Batman, one true person she wanted to be with, as she decides to get out.
I saw that abyss you spoke about, very scary, but so tempting. I don’t know how you resist it. I don’t think it’s humanly possible.
THE SECOND PLOT
Batman the Killing Joke moves on to a different enclave altogether after leaving the Batman-Batgirl story right there. Enters the main event after which the moniker finds its meaning. Joker is absolutely stunning with that wicked gleam in his eyes, and the delivery Mark Hamill brings home is simply majestic.
You see this rare side of Batsy who tries to reconcile with Joker too, trying to squeeze in a reason for him to hold on to.
How can two people hate so much without knowing each other?
Joker’s madness is drenched in stark psychosis. He does a loony song too to pull Gordon towards the ugly clutches of insanity. His take on memories, his past and craziness is so brilliantly written that is hard not to applaud him for his ingenious comportment.
Remembering’s dangerous. I find the past such a worrying, anxious place. Yes, memory is so treacherous. One moment you’re lost in a carnival of delight, childhood aromas, the flashing neon of puberty, all that sentimental candyfloss. The next, it takes you somewhere you don’t want to be. Somewhere dark and cold, filled with damp, ambiguous-shaped things you’d rather forget. Memories can be vile, repulsive little brutes.
At one point, you see Batman hunting down Joker and ends up facing Maroni. He puts Joker’s perversion in perspective with:
We might be scared of you, but we are terrified of him.
As if those stories weren’t enough, there is another backdrop side-plot that oscillates occasionally to and fro, taking you to the Joker’s past every now and then. If only they were shown at junctures worth revisiting, it would have been perfect.
The final bits are left for viewer’s interpretation. It is actually a nice way of leaving the story like that. You can’t help but wonder if Batman might have killed Joker in the end or if he might have taken him to the Arkham Asylum yet again, overlooking his horrific deeds to prove he doesn’t win.
THINGS THAT DON’T WORK OUT
Given the colossal theme of the movie, we expected something much more exhilarating eventually. Climactic bits wizen down gradually during the final bits, as Batman hunts down Joker to a Carnival. Gordon fails to succumb to the insanity Joker had planned for him. Given the monstrosity of Joker’s villainy the tale ends quite stale, leaving us with a weird sense of disconnect, as it fails to merge with the leftovers.
I’ve demonstrated there’s no difference between me and everyone else. All it takes is one bad day. That’s how far the world is from where I am, just one bad day.
THE FINAL VERDICT
Batman The Killing Joke is different, yes, no doubt. Screenplay absolutely brilliant! Story wise, I am afraid I liked the Barbara story more. Music is just as gorgeous, forever complementing every single frame. The movie also pays homage to a lot of previously depicted materials that will at once throw you into pits of nostalgia.
Whilst Batman The Killing Joke might not be the best of Batman Joker movies, it certainly stands in the vanguard as one of those rare movies to serve us a breathtaking glimpse into their enmity-inevitability. Also, it poses a daunting question out at the end. What did Batman really do?
Check out the trailer of Batman: The Killing Joke here:
So we have done a lot of changes on our website. We have changed entirely the look and feel of movie reviews and quotes. Right from changing the theme of it (which has now become more awesome btw), to outsourcing of quotes which we assumed was quite the need of the hour, and removing a couple of unwanted menu items that helped us to primp it down further. Quotes can be accessed via the “Quotes” menu which will redirect to you our tumblr version, which as a matter of fact, is doing pretty fine per se.
EXPLORE OUR MOVIE REVIEWS AND QUOTES ENCLAVE
We have also ventured into Instagram waters and are wading just fine in kudos. Of course, that is restricted to quotes alone. You can find the link here:
The front static page of Straight From A Movie is still open for ideas. We have stopped including a “portfolio view” of the things we were onto on the landing page since it was causing speed issues. Another idea of revamping movie reviews and quotes site is through the inclusion of a section that celebrates the forgotten movies. We are still thinking about including such a corner, or might settle on using the Blog section We have also included a “Quote of the week” section in our movie reviews and quotes website which will let you have a
Another great idea that has still not reached fruition is the inclusion of a “Quote Rant” category that will visit bad-ass movie quotes from different flicks and squeeze out words from the mouth of our writer into expounding why the quote was chosen in the first place. What drew his attention towards it? Blah Blah Blah! It will be great to get an insight and see if there are like-minded people breathing in the world with the same stream of thoughts.
Straight from a movie is on its way to become the Big Daddy of the movie sphere. We promise to blow your minds with only the best critical-laudatory movie reviews and quotes ever.
Spectre is yet another exquisite icing to the renowned double agent’s tale. The grandeur of James Bond returns with Sam Mendes’s enthralling direction.
“To liars and killers. To liars and killers everywhere.”
SAM MENDES AND BOND CONNECTION
It’s official. Sam Mendes is the only person who does immaculate refined justice to Bond. It is so great to see him handle such colossal projects. Three years ago, he had done a similar job of primping and preening the Bond who was jackhammered into the debris of Solace. With the right kind of posture, demeanour and mien, he had in his mind for a Bond of our dreams, Mendes’ protagonist soared to an unimaginable level. So he created Bond, a man with the right words, the right class and the right air.
The depth in his eyes when he seeks love, the fearless fluent proclamations he bears on his lips when he faces his enemies, his unique flamboyant flair, and the way he walks adjusting his cuffs. Ooh! So filled with pizzazz! Daniel Craig hits a home run with every minute detail that’s asked of him to master a Bond of style. He will stand tall as one of the best Bonds to have ever walked on the big screen.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Writers of Spectre do a fair job of revisiting the forgotten by punching in faces from the past to shake up an already stirred Bond. However, it is hard to shake him up. This is Bond we are talking about. Craig looks more focused, fearless and more relentless than ever in Spectre movie.
Spectre is one of the most realistic movies to have ever been made in the Bond saga. Even whilst Bond shoots pawns of Blofeld, he does so by sitting, crouching and aiming before taking the shot. He takes into account the distance factor, which seems quite plausible when you compare it to past Bond movies. He has a story to unfurl which moves at quite an interesting pace. (I don’t know why some found it lengthy!)
Christoph Waltz is brilliant as Blofeld too. His villainy is soothing, calm never leaving its walls of perversion. He has a badass voice that he carries superbly throughout his ephemeral act.
We have a side plot led by Andrew Scott which runs parallel to the story. Sam Mendes tries really hard to juggle both stories and endeavours to hold them in the same basket, but barely manages to succeed at that. Somehow I feel, the director could have done a better job weaving it more brilliantly.
BEAUTIFUL SCENES (SPOILERS AHEAD):
There are extremely beautiful bits in the movie that come to my mind when I think of it. Like the one where Bond wakes up to the silencing commotion of a mouse. He points the gun at it and says,
“Who are you working for?”
I think watching Bond sandwiched between M and Swann was brilliantly shot. It was quite poetic if you really look at it. At one side, there were “saving-the-world-shoes” to fill, whilst at the other end there was freedom and the love of his life gawking at him with hopeful eyes. Right at the middle, the author of his pain asked him to shoot him. As Swann had said before life gives you choices. Bond was faced with a choice to kill and not to kill, and of course, to choose a side. To Blofeld’s beseeching command to kill him, he empties his barrel and says,
“I would if I had bullets.”
and starts walking towards Swann. He chooses “to stop.” What a beautiful way to go!
One of the most daring acts of Bond in the flick is when he rams and tries to scooch a plane amidst a narrow path surrounded by trees. He stops at nothing whilst chasing. So he has proven in the beginning chase scene of Casino Royale. Another one of course, walking into the lion’s den eventually, which was both bold and stupid at the same time. But hey, we are talking Bond here!
The beginning of the flick is outrageously rad too. The cameras that walk alongside Bond as he strolls through Mexican streets, to a hotel room, then scales beside him till he reaches his target, every bit of it has been gorgeously captured. Action is top-notch as well. Watch out for the Bautista train duel. Perfetto!
Grab a Blu-Ray DVD of Spectre here:
SCORE OF THE JAMES BOND MOVIE
Another thing that you would notice is its score. So bloody brilliant! Thomas Newman makes the music so beautiful and badass that it’s hard not to notice it. Before deciding to watch Spectre, mark this on your checklist: Choose a theatre you love for its sound. Right from the Mexican beats, to Sam Smith’s marvelous song, to soothing violins, everything downright impeccable!
Sam Mendes frames exceptional panorama as he ranges down beautiful landscapes all across the globe. The photography and the cinematography can’t be overlooked here. Simply outstanding!
This movie is a perfect Craig-Bond tribute. Go bid your adieus! (Only if this is Daniel Craig’s last movie)
You can check out the trailer of Spectre movie here:
Underworld mythology of the Greeks has always fascinated me. Their stories have been beautifully imagined particularly the dark bits of the Ferryman Charon, and written with a peaceful pensive verve by the […]