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Demolition Review (2015)

A twisted drama!

Comes another melodramatic venture from the beautiful head of Jean-Marc Vallee, Demolition is a movie not for everyone. Whilst I personally love his direction, in the back of the head I get this feeling it might overwhelm some with apathy.


Demolition lets you delve into the head of a guy who goes rogue on account of a recent mishap. Jake Gyllenhaal gets into the skin of Davis, a guy who doesn’t pay much attention to what’s going on around him, until he does. The world we behold then is brimming up with his insanity, and he seems at one point to have reached heights of the inane. Some of his acts seem really fatuous but some instigated. But it is the constant struggle between the two that the director pushes us toward which makes things hard to digest.


Jake Gyllenhaal is, no doubt, outstanding as the protagonist who loses it all in the very beginning frames of the movie. It unfolds into a great sojourn as people make an effort to fathom his fatuous acts, which he justifies through his phenomenal explanatory yet endearing letters to Karen (Naomi Watts), a character we see appear out of the blue. For some moments, you will have a hard time wrapping your head around the mist she appears from. At one junction, I took her for a figment, but then when we see her world unfurling with more twisted people, things kind of sediment.


You see a sub-plot protruding right then with the inclusion of Chris (Judah Lewis) to the tale. The side story comes more as a helping hand to see the thrilling side of demolishing something, a secondary perspective which tries to address a persisting LGBT issue too. It is weird how with those moments with Chris, Karen disappears completely only to return when she is needed for the movie. A sense of disconnect that makes things impalpable. In his strides towards the extraordinaire, Jean-Marc Vallee often misses out on the flick’s substance.


Watching Jake groove to the beats was one of the most amusing and cool parts. His carefree reckless dancing makes you fall in love with him even more. Watching him rip apart everything he thinks beautiful, gives you a silent satisfaction. To feel that relatable urge to annihilate things to tatters, was a reassuring contended sight. Albeit it becomes very difficult to relate to his character after one point, owing to some humorous bits in the movie, which seemed more like a deliberate attempt to aid the movie into reaching its climax, which was also quite fromward from its original steer. But the climax unravels with a punch in a gorgeous fashion that covers up for the indifference that we face midway.

The fact that Julia (the wife) bides by and stays impregnated in Davis’ chores has been beautifully depicted in the Demolition. The way she gets mirrored to him every time goes on to show – no matter how aloof you are from someone your head somehow finds them through regular habits.

Screenplay of Bryan Sipe goes brilliant at times but ambles quietly on a constant high and low road. Chris Cooper does a very thoughtful loving and caring dad that almost breaks you up, if it weren’t for the callous Davis demeanour to put you back in his mood.


One of the most powerful parts of Demolition is Davis’ resurrection, as he feels sorry for his acts, and actually starts to miss Julia. That’s when he pulls himself together to meet a stranger who visits her grave. Mistook for the guy whom she was dating before her death, Davis decides to acknowledge him only to find out he was the guy responsible for the accident. It puts you in your brooding gears.


I could totally understand what the director is feeling when he tries to jog us down through that grieving lane. Unfortunately, he fails to connect us to his thoughts. With demolition, he couldn’t really open up wide and audaciously to the public, which I kind of felt defeats the purpose.

Allegiant Review (2016)

What a rock-bottom! Allegiant is a big bummer!

From the enthralling tales that were so successfully luring us towards its nail-biting enclaves, comes another one, a rather dismissive twist that takes the plot to weird levels of alcoves from where there is no possible return. The movie franchise has met an ugly thud and now we are left with a stale taste in our palate. We are thinking can someone really revive this?


Just an year ago, Robert Schwentke had wrapped us a thrilling sequel to the first part where things seemed really promising. It was a fast paced dig, au contraire, to the first installment and acquainted us to a fantastical world of simulations. I don’t know how his direction degraded for Allegiant to meet complete chaos.

The fact that we had a pre-written storyline in our baggage for Allegiant should have actually helped not played against Schwentke. His direction goes dodgy at so many occasions that it is hard to just pinpoint one. Also, the plot jack-hammers into a recess that we weren’t really expecting it to converge into. Even though it was supposed to be from Veronica Roth’s perspective, we could have used some better helming to ease into some mind-numbing revelations. The shoddy display at points where it mattered the most proves how little director cared about its eye-openers.


What messed with matters further was the dramatic quotient of Allegiant. The fact that Tori gets lost amidst a ruckus, and the next-to-absent “Evelyn and Johanna Reyes war” makes things even worse. Jeff Daniels plays a great David although his hands seemed more tied and his perversion not milked enough.


Sometimes I think it is almost time to hand over the reins of the franchise into hands of a better TV show director. We could really use a better insight. You can watch it if you are inquisitive enough and are wanting to know what happens next.

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

Birdman is a rare outstanding feat! 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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.


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.