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Moonlight Review (2016) | A Stunning Triptych About Finding Yourself

The LGBT issue is real, and people still find it hard to accept. A movie like Moonlight tries to bring it in the vanguard. In a neighborhood that roughhouses the quiet and the mute, where being gay is unacceptable to people, thrives the story of a little boy with hopeful eyes. He is yet to understand and wrap his head around his sexuality, but the people he breathes alongside have stones in their hands. He has to make his way through that dreary path, figure himself out at the same time deal with an invariably cooked mother who is no good for a poor child.

Theme and Interpretation of Moonlight

The Moonlight movie started out with a project called “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue”. Whilst the play couldn’t reach fruition, it certainly made it out big at the end of the day, and came out in the open as something that the world will never forget. I love how the term moonlight acts as a polysemy per se.

While the best one comes straight from the play, of how black still holds as a slander in people’s minds, it is hard to fathom why something as insignificant as the color of one’s skin still gets to be the judge of a person? Like moonlight is white. The juxtaposition of black with white ends up making the black blue (here sad), because the white is dominating. It tries to paint people in its own color. The whites revere its tinge and consider it a privilege to be under their skin. This behavioral pattern is evident in their snobby patronizing acts. Of course, the movie doesn’t paint that black and white picture here, it’s title alone still remains powerful enough to make you think otherwise.

image of Mahershala Ali as Juan teaching Little to swim in Moonlight

While coming to the real theme of the flick, Moonlight still justifies. We get to see three phases of our protagonist’s life, each suggestive of how moonlight shines and wanes with each phase. It stays dormant for a while before showing up once again bright and shiny. There are the ugly phases, the dark ones that are abounding in the flick introducing us to the character’s rough past. It includes the rough neighborhood he is brought up in, his addicted abusive mother and the constant bullying kids. There are those hopeful blotches of him too trying to find himself, his true identity, his accidental acquaintance with himself which cannot be lauded enough. After which he eventually shines out a man.

Direction of Moonlight

Whilst I never came across Barry Jenkins before, I was amazed to discover the poignancy in his frames. They are really really profound. He is quiet with his frames, lets your thoughts sieve in, a perfect helmer of drama. He boldly goes for different angles and gradually crawls it towards the protagonist. The end result is absolutely brilliant. He slowly zooms in and zooms out for emphasis, until he puts his character under his lens. To find action he walks alongside it, with the right profundity.

Even though he was there all along, the movie couldn’t have done without Nicholas Britell‘s extraordinary composition. He helps in delivering you to the right vibes. Whenever the music comes it squeezes out of you emotions that you have been holding on to for the right moment. It’s really deep.

You can buy Moonlight movie from here:

If we take a look at the outstanding actors who play the part of the protagonists in the movie, you will be surprised to find out how each one of them copies each other to perfection. Ranging from Alex R. Hibbert‘s unfazed acting as Little, to Ashton Sanders‘ Chiron, to eventually nailing it with Trevante Rhodes as Black for the better part of the flick. Each one of them was equally riveting.

We can’t certainly overlook Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris and Andre Holland‘s performance either. They all happened to the protagonist like moonlight itself. In phases, shining out for him, on him with erratic blotches of light.

The Final Verdict

The drama is intense. Scenes created are brimming with impactful performances. While it is strictly a drama flick, and might not interest those who are not fans of drama, it certainly should be able to tingle you for the issue it skims.

I highly recommend you watch it even if drama is not your forte.

Check out the trailer of Moonlight movie here:

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:

Spectre Review (2015) | Sam Mendes Embellishes James Bond Yet Again

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.

still of james bond wearing spectre mask

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!)

still of spectre movie daniel craig and lea seydoux

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!

still of Dave Bautista in Spectre movie by Sam Mendes

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: