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A Quiet Place Review (2018) | A Gripping Sci-Fi Thriller

Even before A Quiet Place was about to hit the theatres, I was blown away by the concept I saw in its trailers. Don’t make a sound! How apt is that for horror? I knew it was going to be promising then and there.

Fortunately, A Quiet Place movie doesn’t disappoint. It leverages that hush quotient to the maximum. It constructs itself in a way that uses all the possible rogue elements in real life that could overthrow a solid working plan – of keeping quiet. We are gradually prepared for the inevitability with a plot that has dangerous written all over it. It is like walking on the edge of a knife. You know that it’s not going to work, but the plot literally walks you through it.

Plot and Theme of A Quiet Place (Spoilers)

John Krasinski‘s genius lies in a world where staying mum is the word. There are blind aliens lurking in the city that rampage and decimate everything that makes a sound. So what are the things that make a sound? Oh! Wait, right about everything. To thrive in a world where even the teensiest noise is going to set them off, how do you think you are going to survive?

It has been carefully built, of course without the usual screenplay, with the music reworking itself to produce patient notes that become both engaging and thrilling alongside its nerve-racking storyline. It forces you to often go silent yourself, as you become the characters portrayed. That’s the impact A Quiet Place has on you. You can’t appreciate John Krasinski, Bryan Woods and Scott Beck enough to come up with a plot so wild and engaging that it rivets an entire hall of moviegoers at once and shuts them to silence.

The Tragedy

What appears like a prologue basically bases itself as the nub of the story. A family of five scrounging off an emptied world, taking what they need and sticking together as a team.

Lee: Too noisy.

Meet the Abbotts family in A Quiet Place

The little one Beau Abbott played by Cade Woodward who fails to understand how dire the situation was, makes a mistake and ends up paying the price. It is a scene that rips the family apart just as aliens do to the poor boy.

One of flick’s strength is, hands down, the hearing aids of Regan Abbott (Millicent Simmonds). It is as if the whole story revolves around it. It ends up becoming the reason of Beau’s death for which Lee (John Krasinski) begins to secretly blame Regan. It kills Regan to know that her Dad hates him because of something she doesn’t have control over. She feels guilty too but the past can’t be changed.

Same goes for Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) who plays wife to Lee. We see her often visiting Beau’s room and crying. It crushes her too knowing that her hands were empty, that she could have lifted Beau to avert the tragedy.

Evelyn’s Struggle

We fast forward to a year later where people are still secretly lamenting for Beau. Lee is trying to make contact with the outer world to check if there are others like them scavenging silently, still breathing. Evelyn is pregnant with another child (like really? I thought they were careful right about everything). Whilst Regan goes to visit Beau’s grave after having a heated ASL argument with her father.

Lee takes Marcus (Noah Jupe) to a river to teach him how to fish.

Marcus: Do you still love her?
Lee: Of course I do.
Marcus: You should tell her.

He shows him that innate louder sounds are always going to mask their normal talks and movements. It is an exercise that reassures you that there is a way to stay safe despite the current state of the world. Like how in a zombie-ridden world people would wrap themselves up with zombie insides to smell exactly like them. Workaround? Okay, that seems like a preparation for a sequel already.

Back at home, Evelyn goes into labour as she steps on a nail breaking a glass frame alerting nearby aliens. As an attempt to warn others she makes the exterior lights red signaling danger. What follows is a nerve-rending affair of her trying to beat the pain by staying quiet as aliens explore the interiors of her house.

It has all those mind-numbing elements impregnated that will force you to literally jump out of your seats. It’s like you are feeling her pain as the creature’s onslaught feels imminent. But you can only imagine it.

The Grain Silo

On returning and on finding the lights red, Lee asks Marcus to create a diversion with a rocket as he enters his house only to find Evelyn with the baby in the bathroom. With babies crying is inevitable, and so they nearly escape another close call as they further into the basement. Making a promise to look after their children Lee leaves.

Who are we if we can’t protect them? We have to protect them.

Meanwhile, Regan and Marcus unite and head to a grain silo to alert their father using a signal. Regan is defiant saying that her father doesn’t love her. Marcus tries to explain it isn’t true. In the midst of a confusion, he falls inside. He is about to become a victim of grain entrapment when Regan jumps in and helps him out using the fallen hatch door.

Grain Silo scene in A Quiet Place

Marcus: He’ll come for us.
Regan: He’ll come for you.

Back at home, Evelyn wakes up to find that the basement is flooded and an alien is close by listening for sounds. Feel your heart in your mouth again! That alien heads towards the noise in the silos leaving the mother and the baby alone.

It is when the alien attacks the kids in the silo that we figure out their true weakness. Regan’s ear implants generate a high pitch frequency that drives the alien nuts as it runs away.

The Final Countdown

Lee reunites with the kids but the alien returns. Helping their kids to escape through a pickup truck, Lee sacrifices himself by yelling, drawing the creature towards him. He manages to say that he loves them both as Regan feels sorry for not understanding her father.

I love you. I’ve always loved you.

The children escape to meet their mother and the newly born at the farmhouse as the truck rolls downhill.

It is there that Regan witnesses all the implants her father had been making for her in a room she wasn’t allowed to enter. It is a melting feeling knowing that it’s too late now. That her father really cared about her and his deeds only spoke of love.

The creature follows them into the basement. Figuring out the power of the frequency of her implants, she places it in front of a microphone disorienting the alien altogether. It reveals the flesh underneath the armor as Evelyn shotguns it. Bam!

With one down, two more aliens are shown in the security monitors headed their way. With the newly acquired knowledge of how to kill aliens, Evelyn cocks her gun and prepares herself for an imminent war.

Evelyn and Regan in The Quiet Place movie

Now the hunted becomes the hunters. Curtain drops.

With her final expressions, you read defiance. When you are afraid of something, it overpowers you, and your fear makes you weaker. But the moment you decide to fight, the moment you find the weakness of your enemy and you take a shot, you overcome your fear. You force your enemy to take a step back. You can apply that everywhere in all the crises of life.

Memorabilia from A Quiet Place

The grain silo scene in the movie is the most memorable one. You cannot imagine how beautifully it has been pictured – two kids trapped in a silo. Almost feels like a painting as they hold on to each other, trying to be strong for something they don’t have a fighting chance against.

Then there is captivity in scenes where we play Regan. How she perceives her surroundings when her implants are not working. It is dead silence, right there. To be in her skin and listen to nothing, even though a world is ripping apart right behind her is a challenging watch. Not to mention how brilliantly it has been edited and alluringly pulled off.

I particularly loved all the surprises that were clamped together and the fact that the audience was filled with their knowledge. Like the existence of a ruthless nail, the broken pipe, and the alien lurking in the water. All of it has been perfectly stowed with horror.

You can order A Quiet Place Movie from here:

Weaknesses and Bugging Questions

A Quiet Place’s first big weakness I would say is in the leveraging of the first death. We hardly know Beau, and killing a character so early becomes very unrelatable. You don’t feel the pain but only get the horror of what might have happened when Beau was attacked. What fails to make you grieve over him, and make the pain less relatable is the fact that he was killed off in the very beginning without giving him a proper coverage.

A Quiet Place also makes you think about Lee’s decision to save his kids. But it is a good thing that it makes you think. Was there any other way to save his children? Could he have done something differently, at least died trying?

Another ringing question that might bug you is the alien’s perimeter of a rampage. How much does it cover when it hears a sound? While we see it awfully close to characters in the movie, it is still looking for a sound. So what if a man shouted at a place and ran swiftly to another. Will he still have a shot? What about an unmoving man? If you just stood still like Drax in Avengers Infinity War, what would it do to you then, huh?

Then again you are compelled to wonder that nature makes a lot of sound on its own. How are they registered by those aliens? Do they prance off in their killing mode at everything that makes a sound? Also, what’s their range? How far can they listen to? What about the birds? Were each one of them hunted down and killed? If so, can the aliens fly too?

I really hope we get some answers.

The Final Verdict

To be honest, the A Quiet Place’s true strength lies in its desperate moments, those unseen junctures where countless surprises are lurking. It is better you watch it for yourself to experience some genuine horror, the one that doesn’t have any supernatural elements attached. But something very innate that elicits pious fear from your insides.

A must watch for everyone. You know, something similar might happen to us one day. We better be prepared. Be packing!

Wonder Movie Review (2017) | Always Choose Kind

A wonder-full movie! Wonder movie is based on R. J. Palacio‘s debut novel. Boy! Has it been adapted brilliantly! With Jacob Tremblay doing justice to the role of Auggie, this movie is going to melt your heart on countless occasions. It is riveting throughout and lets you relate to its characters.

Unlike other movies where a protagonist-perspective is often brought into play for right about everything, Wonder movie doesn’t revolve around just Auggie, but all the people whose lives get affected owing to him.

Some lines are right there up with you. They sear you with a disheartening pang that is hard to escape if you are completely engrossed in the movie. There are numerous occasions in Wonder movie to make you all teary-eyed, and then there are plenty to lift up your spirits too.

When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.

The fact that the writer understands people so well will make you want to read her even more. Either through her books or her adapted work. There is so much she has to say, and so much she understands that it is hard not to applaud her brain. More power to her! Keep impressing us with more of you Palacio!

Direction of Wonder Movie

If you have watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower you are already aware of the alluring style of Stephen Chbosky‘s direction. He has a superpower to make his films really enchanting. There is something magical in the way he depicts drama that makes you connect almost instantly.

The cast he has chosen here is simply amazing. Right from Nate, (Owen Wilson) the cool dad to the mother, Isabel (Julia Roberts) whose life has taken a major setback owing to Auggie’s arrival, not to forget the overlooked brave sister Via (Izabela Vidovic) and the struggling friend Jack Will (Noah Jupe). All of them have been extremely well executed in frames that together tell a melting story.

still of Wonder movie family selfie

Chbosky experiments with the story he has, by playing it in the form of a book. Giving characters in the movie their own section of frames, where their own perspectives come into play. While what Via speaks into the ears of Auggie is inaudible to the parents, we find out about what was said in Via’s section. It is a brilliant way of showing a movie that keeps the audience on their toes. Also, it goes on to show how unaware we are about someone else’s perspective until we become them and until we start empathizing with their characters.

Like the fact that Via seemed really understanding from one look, and that if she was okay with all the attention Auggie got, is not only the viewer’s idea about her, but even that of the parent’s. It goes on to say – what we see, or what appears isn’t how things are. Brilliantly directed!

Jacob Tremblay as Auggie

While you can’t talk enough about this talented young kid, Jacob Tremblay keeps delivering every time he shows up in a movie. Whilst it is still hard to ignore his performances in Room and Before I Wake, he shows up how good he is in this beauty of a flick too. And how adorable he is! You can’t love him enough!

I am pretty sure you are secretly wishing Jacob Tremblay to not grow up. He is so cute, and that isn’t the only notion that’s winning him all the accolades but his ability to become versatile characters, so young.

Precepts are rules for really important things.

It is hard not to feel for Auggie when he is trying to find a place amongst others. He places fear and awkwardness in a contrasting optimistic light and visualizes himself how he wishes to be looked at. That’s one psychological lesson and  smart life hack right there – When people are staring at you, you turn it into something powerful.

All the Hope

It is amazing how this little lad is brimming with hope at all times. His pain so understandable, and his ecstasy immensely enjoyable! Feeling for him is something you cannot avoid throughout. Watching him rise is like watching your own kid rise. When you watch him struggle you just want to be there for him. Now that’s the power of acting! Making you feel for painted characters, and tying it all to your thread.

I know you don’t always like it, but I love it. It’s my son’s face.

At one point you are thinking what’s going on in his head? It’s all so relatable. If you put yourself in the shoes of Auggie everything the child is thinking and everything the child is going through can be empathized with. You think about all the thoughts that were said out loud, and that weren’t, and you realize it is an insanely depressing situation. You realize the huge import of finding your place in a world that considers a certain face to be akin to normal, like there’s a standard to everything we see.

To take birth in abnormality, and to face the very definition of normalcy is bound to emit sparks. Even though you are aware of what all things are going to happen, to witness it through the eyes of a small child is exceedingly painful.

On being asked what his superpower would be, Auggie says,

I’d be invisible.

And you can understand why he chose that answer! Poor child!

Julia Roberts as Isabel

Julia Roberts gives a great performance as Isabel. You can read genuine pain, trouble, and concern on her face when Auggie isn’t doing fine. It is hard not to put yourself in the shoes of Isabel.

Wonder movie Quotes

Wonder movie plants you in her feet and you become her. All the emotions, they go through you, and you are crying with her, feeling happy for Auggie when he makes a new friend.

Dear God, please let them be nice to him.

There are lines in Wonder that will shake you up, scintillate your soul, and connect with you on an emotional level. All of them have been beautifully imagined.

We all have marks on our faces. (pointing towards face) This is the map that shows us where we are going. (pointing towards heart) This is the map that shows us where you have been.

Isabel says all the right words to a child going through a tough time. But in doing so she misses out parenting a girl who has learned to take care of herself – her other child.

Izabela Vidovic as Via

Izabela Vidovic’s portrayal for Via can’t be forgotten either. Whilst at one hand, you find this really strong image of a girl who is completely okay with her parents focusing all their attention on the child who deserves all the attention. On the other hand, you find her completely vulnerable and missing out on all the love.

If they stare let them stare. You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

Via is insanely strong and you realize that her problems, however, small, insignificant and mundane they might appear, are problems too. That she too deserves an eye in a family that is struggling to be normal, and be consumed and accepted by the world as one of their own.

When you look at Via’s character you realize that she has been put in a really smart move. It is a contrasting image that Wonder movie shows when they try to show how a person gets neglected even when you are focusing on someone who really needs it.

Other Cherishable Characters

Among other characters brilliantly woven are that of Jack Will’s and Julian’s (Bryce Gheisar‘s). While Jack Will is a child like any other, who is torn apart in a world that’s twisted and a world that isn’t, he shows what any other child would do in a situation he is put in. While he makes mistakes and amends them, it is endearing to watch the reconciliation in the flick.

The latter is the problem child, who shows us the bitter truth. He is like the reality eyeing us up good. You cannot enforce kindness in people, but you can help them learn their own lessons of humanity.

You can order Wonder 2017 Movie from here:

Then you cannot also overlook the cooperating brainy principal Mr. Tushman (Mandy Patinkin) who does all the right thing, saying all the right words, and deals with crooked people with a hard to imitate kindness.

still from Wonder movie

“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

The Final Verdict

You cannot just commend one person for turning Wonder into something that’s astoundingly powerful. It is a team effort that deserves countless accolades. I guess it would be safe to say that “they should make more movies!”

There are so many life lessons imbibed in this tale that it feels like education, and whatever it stands for.

If you really want to see what people are, all you have to do is look.

Wonder movie will leave you intensely satisfied when you leave the theatre. Go watch this one!

Thor Ragnarok Movie Review (2017) | Everything Marvel Stands For

An epic conclusion to the Thor trilogy! Thor Ragnarok movie is fun, adventurous and action-packed. Just like Marvel movies generally are. Marvel plays their cohesive universe card once again, this time bringing Hulk to the vanguard to complement the story.  We get our very own cinematic version of Thor vs Hulk, which even though stays the highlight of the movie isn’t the foundation on which the flick is built. The clash appears to be a fair fight and the movie chugs forward like it was supposed to.

Marvel, the pro it is at aggrandizing events and helming great stories, releases a movie that’s built more on fun than on dead action. We have seen it grow like that, but in their past creations, emotions used to linger around a lot. In Thor Ragnarok movie, however, with its gigantic plot waiting at the anvil, there is literally no time for it. It is focused more on entertainment and tries to cut short emotional stuff.

Direction of Thor Ragnarok Movie

Marvel has always made great investments. This time the crosshair was on Taika Waititi as the rest of the universe sat in anticipation. MCU never fails to identify talent in great men. Probably that’s how and why Marvel Studios always stays ahead of the curve.

thor and hulk in thor ragnarok movie

Hulk like real fire. Like, raging fire. Thor like smouldering fire.

Taika does justice to Thor. He knows what he is doing and moves around beautifully betwixt Hela’s badassery to Sakaar, a garbage planet where Thor gets stranded. He runs parallel stories without disconnecting you, lets Thor shine out as the protagonist he was meant to be, without belittling other Marvel characters.

Taika Waititi has plenty of screentime stored for characters that were forever meant to belong to Thor’s world, allowing characters like Jane Foster not be missed. There is theatrics galore, plenty of wow moments to leave you wanting to see more, and music that will forever ring in your ears whenever you will think about this movie. A wink at Led Zeppelin‘s badass remix of Immigrant Song.

The score by Mark Mothersbaugh is amazing, puts you in the right mood. It complements the frames, and lets you truly enjoy the movie.

You can order Thor Ragnarok’s Original Sound Tracks from here:


Grandmaster (Spoilers)

Jeff Goldblum‘s portrayal of Grandmaster is hands down, one of the most memorable characters he has ever played. You are going to remember his flair and delivery when you look back. He becomes successful in creating a character you cannot hate even though he stands on the wrong pedestal against the Lord nay…God of Thunder.

Thor Ragnarok movie Grandmaster with Topaz and Valkyrie

Grandmaster: I love when you come to visit, 142. You keep bringing me just the best stuff. Whenever we get to talk to Topaz about Scrapper-142, what do I always say? She is, and it starts with a B.

Topaz: Trash.

Grandmaster: No. Not trash. Were you waiting to just call her that? It doesn’t start with a B!

Korg

Korg voiced by Taika Waititi himself was a chucklesome addition to the story. His voice alone will make you laugh.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Korg. I am kind of like the leader in here. I am made of rocks, as you can see, but don’t let that intimidate you. You don’t need to be afraid, unless you are made of scissors! Just a little Rock, Paper, Scissors joke for you.

The Kronan species is slapped right from the comics but is given an amusing perspective. The fact that he is going to reappear in MCU, in the long run, is a fact that’s worth rejoicing.

Valkyrie is an interesting addition to the story as well. Played by Tessa Thompson her presence made us overlook Jane Foster, and parting with her character, in fact, didn’t actually hurt. Also, life is all about moving on, isn’t it?

Mark Ruffalo literally aggrandizes everything with his presence. Bruce Banner suddenly becomes funnier with his memory jetlag, and flings at us some rib-tickling jests.

Welcoming Loki to the Other Side

I can’t believe you’re alive! I saw you die. I mourned you. I cried for you.

While a lot of Loki’s perversion disappears with the passing away of Odin, it doesn’t feel right when we don’t see him do something mischievous. Even though he tries, Thor stays ahead of him. We don’t see him in that usual mindnumbing avatar that we were so accustomed to. Even though it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it was a relief watching him drift towards the good side. But as hinted from the looks, he gave to one of the infinity stones, I guess it would be too soon to comment.

still of loki in thor ragnarok

Yes! That’s what it feels like!

The universe becomes further taut when we see Doctor Strange in the opening scene. He helps Thor locate his father.

It is amazing how Marvel packs entertainment inside another capsule of entertainment. We get a mini-movie of sorts, like a short film, that’s as congenial as their movies are.

Thor: No, I don’t have a phone but you could have sent me an electronic letter. It’s called an email.

Dr. Strange: Yeah. Do you have a computer?

Thor: No. What for?

That’s what they do with their end credits that tell us there is something always worth waiting for.

Some Issues

Comedy mostly takes the pain and viciousness away. That’s what happened to the Loki storyline. Following that logic, even Hela portrayed by Cate Blanchett becomes less intimidating even though she housed peerless powers. Her badass portrayal feels short lived. The final battle doesn’t feel like a final boss fight though.

The music even though how awesome it sounds takes away the noise that powerful blows make that used to so subtly place you on the battlefield.

Gardens and goblets? Peace offerings? All his deeds of peace. None of what he did to get it!

Skurge (Karl Urban) another one of those characters that we saw take shape in Thor Ragnarok movie appears to be an opportunist. Even though Karl aces it, the story seems to be doing him a poetic justice. In that wrapping closure, we find him ending up being very trivial, cliched and of little value.

The Final Verdict

Thor Ragnarok movie thrives on humour for most of its runtime. It stays away from gravity when it comes to showing thoughtful drama. That being said, it screams fun in every frame opening gates to future sequels. It allows Thor to move on, introduces new characters to the storyline, thereby helping MCU to grow even more.

I choose to run towards my problems, and not away from them. Because’s that what heroes do.

While the movie is more inclined towards entertainment, it doesn’t compromise on the plot and keeps you well riveted to your seats. There is something in every frame, and the pace is just right. Great editing there!

It’s amazing how MCU is growing with every cinematic release, the universe expands. The way it accomplishes it is simply alluring.

It wouldn’t be wrong to easily count Thor Ragnarok as the finest Thor movie in the entire trilogy. Can’t wait to see how the Avengers are going to fare against their toughest nemesis Thanos for whom the stage is set.

Check out the trailer of Thor Ragnarok movie here:

Blade Runner 2049 Review (2017) | Denis Villeneuve Pays a Fitting Homage

Blade Runner 2049 is a powerful tribute, a fitting sequel to the 1982 blockbuster Blade Runner. The stakes were already high when there were talks of a sequel to a masterpiece, but when Denis Villeneuve‘s name was tacked to the project the world resounded with a sigh of relief. The good news is that he delivers. What a rad stunner!

To witness an eye-boggling dystopian world which has clearly uplifted Ridley Scott‘s version with everything technology could afford is beyond compare. Visuals are literally and figuratively out of the world as Denis uses his fastidious eye to aggrandize every frame.

The movie is paced really slow like a good and genuine thriller, a fact some might not have liked. I swear I heard a lot of people snoring in the theatres which makes me think, maybe the movie could have been edited or paced up a little bit. On a personal level, I think I liked its gait. The way it moves, letting us get in sync with its story, helping us chug wheels of imagination alongside the protagonist are some of the good virtues make it delectable.

Direction of Blade Runner 2049

Denis Villeneuve’s a true magician. The way he weaves his frames is a lesson for budding directors. Creating scenes that are inimitable from angles that aggrandize a situation. Everything is so tasteful that you realize that his frames are quite simple to helm which many fail terribly at. His brain’s simply peerless. There’s so much beauty lurking there; it’s an honour living in his era.

K played by Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is a product of his brain that goes through his gorgeous filters. There’s an arresting aura about all of the characters chosen to star in the flick, and Denis plays with them like a pro he is.

Prolonged shots of the protagonist hovering over the dystopian world, an action sequence played out by silhouettes, or resurrecting the same old hide and seek tension that we had seen in the prequel, using a distorted fragmented piece of music to play in the backdrop or a shot showing a cold-blooded murder by placing the camera outside a window pane for effect are some of the shots that fill you with awe.

The music he chooses to blare is simply powerful. It becomes deafening at times, however never fails to complement his imposing frames. In a way talking about the impending impact just like he used it gorgeously in Arrival.

Writing and Orgasmic Visuals

Hampton Fancher (the guy who wrote the first one) and Michael Green do a fabulous job of creating a winning story. Keeping the memorable character of Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) as the nub of the story, they weave a tale that’s unlike others we have seen. With a revelation that will blow your mind away, not once but twice, the movie persuasively and successfully houses a seriously good thriller in its womb.

Pain reminds you the joy you felt was real.

The screenplay takes you back in time with Fancher bringing most of his lost mojo back on paper. The wisdom that escapes Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) trickles down like honey, and you realize, the guy makes so much sense.

All the courage in the world cannot alter fact.

The Visuals team do a fabulous job of creating something really unworldly. With countless prepossessing panoramic shots to bedazzle us, the movie literally picks us up and puts us in a dystopian future. Deserted lands look unlike anything we have seen so far.

The Theme and Plot of Blade Runner 2049 Movie

The theme of the movie is centered around these very lines spoken by Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright):

The world is built in a wall that separates kind. Tell either side there’s no wall, you have bought a war or a slaughter.

Can a replicant become pregnant? If so there would be no demarking lines to separate humans from replicants. When K (Ryan Gosling) bumps into a case like that he is asked to keep something so colossal under wraps, and to take care of it before it goes out in the open.

The case ends up unwinding into something we don’t expect, and it is a convoluted tale that keeps getting better with every reveal.

Ryan Gosling as K (Spoilers)

The story is run from K’s perspective. Ryan Gosling, who by the way is a “tin job” blade runner, is a guy who accidentally comes across a secret that gnaws at his soul. It is hidden deep down his memory lane.

I have memories, but I can’t tell if they’re real.

He gets on top of the case, the good Nexus-9 officer he is, and visits Wallace Corp. to identify the DNA he had discovered to be that of Rachael. Yes, the replicant from the first part. She was the girl pregnant with the child of Rick Deckard.

Who keeps a dead tree?

You can order Blade Runner 2049 from here:

The Memory Maker

While trying to solve the puzzle of his life, the memory K keeps on witnessing is that of a child trying to hide a sculpted horse in a warehouse as bullies beat him up for the toy. The horse has the same date he saw on Rachael’s grave.

Tagging it as his own memory, and to reconfirm the fact K how much of it is real, K decides to visit a memory maker named Dr. Ana Stelline.

Dr. Ana Stelline Memory Creator in Blade Runner 2049

Ana is the best in the memory business who makes really convincing memories. From her he gathers that the memory he had been witnessing is none other than his own.

Someone lived this, yeah. It happened.

With that, he identifies the child that he was looking for to be none other than him. Whilst it’s a disclosure that feels like something you see coming, it gets answered soon with a final revelation that’s even bigger than the one you were being smug about.

Rick Deckard

With Blade Runner 2049 hitting the theatres, it was crystal clear upfront that Rick was the hero we all wished to see resurrected. Though not the protagonist of this story, the movie manages to preserve the integrity of the cherishable protagonist from the prequel. Harrison Ford reprises his role as Rick Deckard. And it does so really smartly something that doesn’t involve killing his character, unlike what we had to see in Star Wars Force Awakens.

Dick and K fighting in Blade Runner 2049

The force is strong in him as we see him throw the first punch followed by a couple others eyeing K as a threat. Despite the weird dissecting noise there, the scene amplifies automatically owing to the naturalistic vibes that it tags along.

K establishes Rick as his father, as Rick tells him that he had to leave the child for his own good.

Sometimes to love someone, you got to be a stranger.

He was hanging around when a replicant sent by Wallace named as Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) rams in unannounced taking away Rick with him and leaving  K kaput.

You really are the best angel. Aren’t you, Luv?

The Replicant Freedom Movement

When K wakes up Freysa (Hiam Abbass), the leader of the Replicant Freedom Movement asks K to kill Deckard so as to stop Wallace from knowing their whereabouts and saving Deckard’s “daughter”. Mind = Blown!

It’s a huge revelation for K who had been considering himself to be Deckard’s child all this time. But he figures out that it was Selline who was, in fact, Deckard and Rachael’s child that it was her memories that were implanted in him. Ana Selline was really good at her job and hence her memories in his head seemed very real to him.

Dying for the right cause. It’s the most human thing we can do.

With hopes to save Rick from the hands of Wallace who had plans to extract information so that he could progress with his colonization plans, K intercepts his transfer to the off-world. He bumps into Luv again as a fight ensues. Finally, he manages to drown her saving Rick in the process. Staging him as dead, K goes on to do the right thing. He takes Rick Deckard to Stelline for a father-daughter reunion.

It’s very clever to keep yourself empty of information, and all it cost to you was everything.

We see K badly wounded, resting on the stairs slowly succumbing to a probable death. He is feeling the snowflakes on his hand wondering, how for a second he had thought he was real, and what joy it had brought him.

Joi – the Holographic AI

K is in love with his AI holographic girlfriend Joi (Ana De Armas) who is realistic enough to show him a good time. She’s a pleasant companion to have. The technology we see in the movie is simply alluring.

It goes on to capture a transition, an upgrade too, with Joi moving from being trapped in a single room to experiencing the very first thing she wishes to experience – rain. It is then followed by her second most desirable thing – K.

A child. Of woman born. Pushed into the world. Wanted. Loved.

Some of the scenes where we see her network being affected in a crash site with all the lags and glitches are just amazingly done.

Laced in one of the high points of the movie is Joi’s fate. We see her lights being shut down as K burns in disgruntled air helplessly. She had named him Joe when K was busy figuring out his true identity to be akin to humans.

All the best memories are hers.

At a later point, we see K coming to terms with what Joi was all about. At the end of the day, she was nothing but a Wallace advertised product made insanely real.

Blade Runner 2049 movie still of Joi and Joe

Her advertisement calls him Joe venting a series of thoughts inside K’s head. His trance shatters as he accepts her true love to be a sham, another lie Wallace had created to mess with his head.

Luv: I see you are one of our clients. I hope you are satisfied with our product.

K: It’s very….realistic.

Niander Wallace

We see Jared Leto in another convincing performance as Niander Wallace in Blade Runner 2049. The bloke’s blind as a bat but he could see everything using the technology that he has built for himself, and such genius he is.

Every leap of civilization was built on the back of a disposable workforce, but I can only make so many.

He poses as an immensely intellectual villain (I guess we are going to remember him for the rest of our lives). The way he talks and the way he presents the character is simply astounding.

I can see it. As clear as dreaming. He loves her.

There are many other amazing things about the movie as well. About AI we see something very similar to what we had seen in the outstanding 2013 drama Her. One of the most memorable bits in that area is the syncing bit. There’s an apparent lag that we see while AI syncs with human which is a scene that’s beautifully fabricated. It makes you marvel at technology.

Then there was that astonishing scene of the one that literally resurrects Rachael back from the dead. Such beautiful VFX!

Her eyes were green.

The Final Verdict

Blade Runner 2049 movie’s true thrill lies in its proper nerve-racking narration. Even though its pace might not be something today’s fast-moving world is up for, it is a fantastic gem that shouldn’t be missed for the world.

It is a movie that tells you what geniuses are made of. You realize that artistry lies in every aspect of cinema right from the visuals team to the direction, to the cinematography and the writing. It is a combined extraordinary effort of the whole team who make this movie a worthy hoot.

Check out the trailer of Blade Runner 2049 here:

The Hitman’s Bodyguard Review (2017) | An Act of Deliberate Plotting

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is as weird, absurd and fun as it sounds by the very title of it. Doesn’t that give away a bit of a plot as well? So, we already knew the nub of the tale even before walking into the theatre. Of course, oblivious to how much comedy the movie was going to pack in. The good news is that the movie is exactly what it promises to deliver by that moniker. The bad news is that there is nothing serious going on in here, so even if you try your best to find something somber, trust me, it isn’t. It is written in all good fun, and I guess, supposed to be enjoyed like that.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is solely driven with “seat belts” on by Samuel L. Jackson. Even though you feel like the movie’s title is about the bodyguard Ryan Reynolds and not the hitman himself, you are dead wrong. Ryan is just an uptight rabbit, no matter how good he is on the field, he forever stays below the real deal Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson.

Oh, by the way, there’s probably no one in the world who says “Motherfucker” better than this guy. And that somehow makes his dialogues enjoyable. I think he writes over his screenplay.

This guy single-handedly ruined the word motherfucker.

Plot and Direction of The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Spoilers)

As mentioned earlier The Hitman’s Bodyguard isn’t keen on showing you genuine action. The action is wrapped in comedy and so if you think there is a serious scene about to come, be wary it has just been shot for cheap thrills. Not to give you any unadulterated adrenaline rush.

The character of Samuel L. Jackson, Darius Kincaid, being the real hero of the flick, does smug things, acts as if he is the boss, and keeps condescending the bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) who is asked to save his ass.

still from The Hitman's Bodyguard

It almost seems like the concept was imagined first, and then a story was written all around it. Like why would a Hitman require a bodyguard in the first place? Unless he’s injured, right? Let’s injure him. And why would the bodyguard be protecting him? Unless he has been hired or forced to, of course. For our hitman to be badass it would be too beneath him to call for help, so let someone else do that. So there’s a woman Amelia Roussel played by Elodie Yung. Since it’s a bodyguard protecting the Hitman, he has to be the best, or there’s really no point. Let’s make him the best! And thus the agency AAA came into existence.

Catch my drift?

The movie is directed by Patrick Hughes. The story is written by Tom O’ Connor.

The Chemistry

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is all about the chemistry between its two lead actors. With that flaky storyline, it had to be. Surprisingly that’s really good.

Darius Kincaid: I will bust a cap in your ass.
Michael Bryce: Have you ever said “please”?
Darius Kincaid: Please, motherfucker!

Ryan Reynolds the deuteragonist plays the uptight guy keen on fulfilling his mission while Jackson is just relentless playing a guy full of himself.  Their trivial conversation about “how to do a thing” is pretty interesting, and most of the comedy is derived from that very equation. You have Michael Bryce trying to ensure that a certain way is followed for safety reasons, but Darius does the exact opposite being a guy who enjoys living on the edge.

Darius: I made that jump on one leg.
Michael: I made that jump without jumping.

There are plenty of laughs strewn across the movie. Some of them really enjoyable, others fail to tickle you. The great comic timing of Ryan comes into play more than often, and you realize the casting was done great with that pissed off face he makes.

still from The Hitman's Bodyguard movie

Salma Hayek brings more fun to the table by playing Darius’ wife. She is boisterous and equally high on expletives. Love how she calls Darius an unkillable Cucaracha.

Wasting Gary Oldman

When the villain isn’t as dangerous as he looks, it becomes a concern for a movie. Gary Oldman was roped in to play Vladislav Dukhovich the main antagonist in the movie who is calling the shots to stop Darius from reaching the court. Unfortunately, even though he has been provided with some great lines, and an accent to ace that, there is nothing he could do with a story-line that places him as an insignificant person against Darius. He ends up disappearing in a jiffy.

You fucked up when you shot my bodyguard.

All that talent goes to waste when you don’t use him enough. At least should have let him do something outrageous or contemptuous. He didn’t even reek of perversion. The flick ends up becoming all about his minions who come try to kill the couple.

Even there, the level of action is moderate. The energy, however, stays great and the stunts are performed effectively. The most stretched scene is that of Darius trying to escape on a motor boat while Bryce guards him using a bike. Then there are some cool car chases, bullets flying all around, close encounters and fist fights that end up making the movie worth watching.

You can order the movie from here:

The Final Verdict

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is average if not great. But it is entertaining nevertheless. Even if the plot just sounds like nothing but a road trip movie for its characters, the real fun happens when these two get to talking.

Go and watch it for yourself to enjoy its sweet nothings.

Check out reviews of other Ryan Reynolds movies.

Check out the trailer of The Hitman’s Bodyguard here:

The Great Wall Movie Review (2016) | Typical Monster Flick

The Great Wall movie is one of those monster flicks that starts abruptly without offering you any perspective. Unlike mythical horror movies that are built on sheer horror and tons of suspense, The Great Wall movie doesn’t bank on the fear factor rather chooses to go with the action platitude to the finish line. It ends up becoming a resounding dud shot when you can see through a plot that sounds very cliched, can feel the shallowness of its scenes and literally read the flick’s apparent contrivance.

Theme and Plot of The Great Wall Movie

The Great Wall movie tried to cash in on the myth surrounding China’s biggest miraculous defense. It created a story out of a mere lore and tried to throw in some tangible veracity to it. Yes it shows the wall in a light that would leave children fantasizing for days.

In doing so, its writers made the wall something it couldn’t have possibly been even in a dream. The movie tried to aggrandize the then extant Song Dynasty scenes with epic armies that acted tough and in unison. They responded pretty well to each other using signs and noises a normal guy couldn’t possibly register.

Max Brooks, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz created alien mythical monsters that visited every 60 years trying to overrun the planet with huge numbers. At the center of them is a queen, a gigantic monster who stays protected by her very own circle of trust er…monsters who do not let anyone get near her. She is calling the shots for her race and yes, she is literally yowling for a boss fight.

matt damon and pedro pascal in the great wall movie

Imperial Court has assigned the job of protecting its realm to a military order called The Nameless Order. Our hero William portrayed by Matt Damon who is way too heroic for a hero, and who barely makes mistakes, is a complete badass with his bow. He has Tovar played by Pedro Pascal for a sidekick who keeps questioning his choices. Both are mercenaries who accidentally run into the Imperial Court in their search for black powder, an ancient moniker for what we brand today as gunpowder.

Willem Defoe‘s character Ballard was terribly written. You could feel him disappear without any bang, oh wait! there was one for him alright. Pleasant escape!

The Good Things

If you try to focus on the good things the movie retains the first thing would be the music by Ramin Djawadi. He is capable of giving you goosebumps with his score. You could feel that emanating through the reverberation that drums produced in The Great Wall movie’s trailer.

Then there is that rare grim attitude Matt Damon wears most of the times, where you can see him delivering lines with a steady resolve. There is one particular scene where we find Lin Mae portrayed by Tian Jing trying to make William understand trust. She tries to coax him into jumping that she wouldn’t let go. But William, who is used to not trusting anybody chooses not to, and responds:

I’m alive today because I do not trust anybody.

Then you cannot overlook the colossal army of The Nameless Order either. It’s huge. The way they move, the way they walk, the grandeur and the resplendence is beyond comparison. It is enough to put you in awe.

Then there are the monsters that are intelligently thought of with the concept of the queen at the center of it. A well thought of fantasy.

You can order The Great Wall here:

Other Issues

Now that we have good things out of the equation, let’s move on to the ugly part. There were plenty of issues starting with the creation of fear. With movies that deal with monsters and aliens, there has to be that morsel of fear lurking that should terrify its viewers. With the Chinese finding it not a big deal since they have always imaged beasts and monsters all their lives, it ends up becoming kind of a big deal, a factor that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Everything happens too fast, there is no slow graze to help one experience that fear. That’s one of the most important points that the flick overlooks. Apart from that you have the cliched storyline. You have seen this happen so many times that it compels you to yawn your way into it. Heroics included are too childish to be true. Also, climax isn’t exactly the movie’s forte. You know what will happen. No element of surprise there.

Then one of the most daft things the movie does lost in its splendour is with the human harpoons, the acrobatic soldiers or the crane troop. When you are left on the mercy of a rope and an army of monsters below you don’t go spearheading straight into their jaws. No matter how cool it looks. That’s leaping into the mouths of death. That’s what they do, and many pay the price too as was expected.

The Final Verdict

The Great Wall ends up becoming really mediocre if you look at what it has in store for you. A predictable story, monsters that you are going to probably forget with time. Some heroic stunts with arrows that look good but too good to be true. It all becomes forgetful in the end which should have been exactly the opposite of what we all wanted.

You can check out the trailer of The Great Wall here:

Manchester by the Sea Review (2016) | Immensely Mournful

Extremely sad and touching. Kenneth Lonnergan‘s masterpiece is a movie that can’t be forgotten. Manchester by the Sea is a soul-stirring drama that will make sure you end up in a pool of tears. It has profound grief written all over it as it moves forward showing frames of a gradual build up that ends up in colossal dolour.

Grief is havocking. So the Manchester by the Sea proves when it swings around a reason so blood curdling that it is hard not to cry. It is a blend of guilt with pang thereafter that doesn’t let you slow down a bit. And you cry, and cry for a loss so horrendous it compels your guts to sing icky songs.

Direction of Manchester by the Sea

One of the best things about the movie is Kenneth Lonnergan’s direction. It is as calm as a good drama flick demands. Poignant and very powerful. It hides its cardinal cause well under the wraps for a good amount of time, building up enough suspense around the mystery man, the protagonist of the tale.

He chooses to go back in time occasionally showing the good days to prepare us for the saddest news our brains could register. His frames run long even if they are memories to give us a proper look into what had once happened.

Amongst Lonnergan’s other works are Margaret and You Can Count on Me.

Casey Affleck’s Acting Prowess

Casey Affleck’s performance is Oscar worthy. He is a great actor who is often overlooked by the gavels. He plays a guy who has accidentally done something horrible and is constantly living with a sad reminder of the tragedy.

Playing Lee wasn’t an easy job. The fact that he is tied up by an incessant struggle where he behaves like a tough guy, silently wishing to wane away inflicting pain by putting himself in harm’s way will make you feel extremely sorry for him.

It was an accident. An accident. It is so hard to make someone understand, the mishap you have to live with is all your own doing. He is in an incredible amount of pain and forever girded by depression. He says no to life, and is just carrying on without a will to live.

I don’t know if anyone could have played Lee Chandler as convincingly as he did.

Plot of Manchester by the Sea (Spoilers)

Lee Chandler portrayed by Casey Affleck is a guy doing menial jobs, who says no to the world, and you are left to wonder why. That’s when you see the movie making time jumps occasionally. It travels back and forth in its timeline to show you a glimpse of the before and the after.

It is only when his brother Joe Chandler portrayed by Kyle Chandler (yes he’s the real Chandler) dies that he decides to pay him a visit. Even there we are forced to believe Lee is an emotionally absent guy, who doesn’t shed a tear for the loss of a loved one.

With Joe’s death, he is supposed to look after his son Patrick played by Lucas Hedges. The latter is a teen still trying to figure out life. He seems to take the death of his old man lightly because it didn’t seem to affect him either. Both Joe and Patrick appear to be somehow on the same pedestals of human emotions wherein distance seems to have created what looks like reckless indifference.

still of casey affleck and lucas hedges in manchester by the sea

We delve a little deeper as they carry on their regular chores, inadvertently circling his grave with what comes as an aftermath of someone’s death. It is the mundane part that deals with funerals, the will, the entire setup that juxtaposes his thoughts against his past.

The Tragic Accident

In a place that Lee had forever dreaded to go back to, we find him unknowingly winding up. We are introduced to his enormous pang, the reason for a screwed up life, and why he wishes to stay miles away from Manchester. He had accidentally set his house on fire killing his three young children. It is hard not to empathize with it. The accident so despicable that could leave anyone shuddering for years. So it happens with Lee. It sucks out the will to live out of him.

The part that follows him when all charges are dropped against him is one of the most havocking parts of the movie. You find him asking:

“That’s it?”

to the cops who write him off saying it was just an accident and that it was nothing but a misfortune. His first impulse is to shoot himself when the police vindicates him. But he wishes immense punitive measures to be taken against him. To live with that pain is to be completely dead inside. And given the angst surrounding his tragedy anyone would want a quick escape.

With a downward tumble into the world of depression after a failed attempt at suicide, he has moved out of the city, out of his marriage and everything that remotely connected him to any memory. He is in constant pain, and wishes others to inflict more on him. A state of mind you can relate so much too. Deliberately asking for bludgeons to death.

Towards the end we find Randi Chandler his ex-wife played by Michelle Williams trying her level best to talk to Lee. It is another one of those devastating moments in the movie that puts drama back in action. Watch out for that!

“There’s nothing left. There’s nothing there, you don’t understand.”

You can order Manchester by the Sea here:

Lucas Hedges as an actor

At the same time Lucas Hedges doesn’t make you overlook him either. He plays that quintessential teen who couldn’t care less about what goes on in the family. But then again, he never let things percolate into him, and once it does, he breaks too. He has his own way of remembering, and putting sense into the loss. Like keeping the cadaver into a freezer bothered him the most. He is naive apparently yet brimming with emotions when he actually stops to think about it.

“Something’s wrong with me. I don’t know! I feel really weird! I am having like a panic attack or something.”

The Final Verdict

The aptly named Manchester by the Sea is a movie that should not be missed for the world. If you are not a fan of drama, then there’s a chance that you might not like it owing to its slow pace. Au contraire, if you are, you are going to absolutely love it. Do we hear Oscar bells for Casey and the movie?

You can check out the trailer of Manchester by the Sea here:

 

 

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:

 

The Founder Movie Review (2017) | The Gruesome McDonald’s Story

The Founder movie jumps into the detailing of how one of the most successful American dreams was built, pampered and then snatched. Did you ever stop to think that McBurger you have been devouring voraciously was once greased in dreams, fried in resilience and then eventually toppled over by a spatula of greed? That a man named Ray Kroc coveted for someone else’s dream, and then swept it away from right under their nose. No! You just want to eat that burger!

It is a biography of the journey of McDonald’s and the big role Ray Kroc plays to make it into this humongous fast food chain. But his path to success would repulse you because it plays unfair games.

Plot of the Founder Movie (Spoilers)

The Founder movie begins with Kroc trying to sell his Milkshake Makers always pushing for that one shot that would change his destiny. Always on the lookout for that big thing! That’s when he comes across the place that were to change his life forever.

A small diner serves extraordinary burgers and amazingly fast too. He gets smitten with their idea of serving food so fast and decides to pay the owners a visit. McDonald’s is run by Maurice McDonald portrayed by John Carroll Lynch and Richard McDonald played by Nick Offerman. They let him in on their secret and tell him how they run things. It’s one of the cardinal stories of how McDonald’s was dreamt and built from scratch. It is beautifully run, a tad lengthy to be honest, but crucial given the theme of the flick. You can sense how much energy, time and effort was spent in their moulding of a dream.

image of Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch in The Founder Movie

When that bit gets over, we see Kroc rooting for them, beseeching them to run a franchise. When they tell him they  tried and failed at it miserably, he reassures them that this time they won’t. With that he signs a contract with them, and expands. The expansion rakes in more moolah and suddenly he is at the top of the world. The franchise grows however so does the dispute between Kroc and the McDonald’s. The former used to earn a meagre percentage off the benefits reaped in, which forces him to consult someone who changes his life. In comes Harry J. Sonneborn played by B. J. Novak who flings an idea that makes a wolf out of Kroc.

The Real Estate Bolster

The ravenous Kroc as suggested by Harry starts buying chunks of land by creating his own company thereby not falling under the radar of the brothers. Thus the real money begins to flow as he keeps expanding the company all over states. He names the company “The McDonald’s Corporation” without consulting the brethren and rips them off paying them 1.35 millions each taking the reins of the company entirely in his hands. He shakes on 1% of future earnings to be given to them as well however doesn’t sign on it.

With that he announces himself as the “Founder” justifying the titular movie name, gloating his win with a trophy wife Joan Smith played by Linda Cardellini by his side, who he steals away from one of his business associates Rollie Smith played by Patrick Wilson.

We see his gradual decline into this monstrous image that we expected him to be the opposite of. Business is a vile thing. It creates fiends out of human beings. That’s what the Founder proves to. The final moments see the brothers changing the name of their diner as per the contract. It’s a sad sight watching their dream tumble down like that. Also since that 1% was never actually written down in a contract, they are never really paid for it as well.

The Unscrupulous Precinct

When you try to pay attention to what Ray Kroc was all about, you cannot really blame him for what he did. He was a businessman who tasted success. He abided by the laws of business wherein he was ready to take desperate measures to stay at the top. In his own words:

“If I saw a competitor drowning, I’d shove a hose down his throat.”

If you were to justify his decisions, he seems right on a lot of points. McDonald’s lacked vision until Ray Kroc walked in. If it weren’t for him, people all across the globe might not even have heard about it. So even though his steps seemed kind of desperate and immoral, ultimately it helped in getting the job done.

But then again, he brought the original brothers to his knees which makes him demonic in a way. Building an empire by stepping on someone’s chest. It is unscrupulous of any human being to do such an inhumane act, and that’s why you can’t really come to terms with it too.

I am afraid the movie shows Ray Kroc in a little bit of bad light, but that’s the beauty of John Lee Hancock‘s project. It leaves us with questions on what we should call fair, and what not.

You can order the Founder movie here:

Screenplay and Drama

The movie scores a tad low in the drama front. The primary reason for that being that half of the time you are made to believe that it’s actually comical. But what’s happening is far more grave. It is the brothers Mac and Dick that make it sound like that, but slowly the movie steps into ghastly waters when things start looking up for Ray. With the tone of the flick it was hard to tell however.

Laura Dern is shown in a bleak light, with dramatic vibes missing in her character of Ethel Kroc. It is sad how Ray picks her out of his life and throws her away like dirt.

Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc in The founder movie

Screenplay isn’t that exciting either except for cliches of success going on in the backdrop that are actually pretty great. The most heartfelt moment of the movie however stays in the struggling moments of Ray when he bends down to pick a fistful of sand, and with all his heart says,

“Just be right this one time. One time.”

It makes his character instantly relatable. All those dreamers who are struggling in life, waiting for their big moment to hit them, for their right decision to happen, would empathize profusely with his state of mind.

The flick might be vexing for some who are not used to watching lengthy biographies. This is however for the visionaries, and those who wish to grasp what really goes down in a business, and also for those who wish to know the actual story behind McDonald’s fame.

The Final Verdict

The Founder movie stays uplifted owing to Michael Keaton‘s mesmerizing performance as Ray Kroc. You can see him transpire into a wicked businessman gradually which suits his persona perfectly. It is a rip off for the original owners, a story that a lot of people don’t know about. Hence, if you wish to know how it all came into existence, whether it was an egg or a hen that led the pack, this movie should not be missed for the world.

Check out the trailer of The Founder Movie here:

 

A Monster Calls Movie Review (2016) | Battling Your Inner Monsters

A Monster Calls is a dramatic stunner. It squirms your insides when you try to empathize with its protagonist, one hell of a child actor, Lewis MacDougall. Its evident story happens between its lines, as it takes refuge of a child’s fancy to expound some of life’s biggest lessons – expressing yourself as you are, accepting a pitfall and coming to terms with it.

Humans are complicated beasts. You believe comforting lies while knowing full well the painful truth that makes those lies necessary.

The movie is based on an enthralling book of the same name by Patrick Ness that actually originated from an idea by Siobhan Dowd.

Cardinal Theme of A Monster Calls

There are two facades to the human brain. The one, that is the sane one, says things that you really mean. Then there is the other one, your daft side that keeps interposing and writing off decisions laid down by the first.  It is a constant battle between them that affects your choices, that plays your mood to its tune. This might sound crazy to a grown-up who has the reins of his brains well sought and unknotted, who is often not vexed by his choices. (That’s too rare again!) But to a child whose thoughts run rampant, it is simply huge.

Life is always in the eyes. If you get that, you’ll be a proper artist.

The negative and the positive thoughts that keep curdling inside you wage wars trying to cloud what you really wanna do or say. And that’s where the movie’s true theme resides. In those hollows of vexation!

image of felicity jones as mum and Lewis MacDougall as Conor in a monster calls movie

What you really mean, the purest form of it all comes when you are feeling a true uninfluenced feel. The movie tries to bring its protagonist to terms with his actual pious veracity, and it only concludes when its job gets done.

J. A. Bayona’s Engaging Direction

It’s official! There’s no director better than J. A. Bayona who could successfully unsheathe qualm and disquiet from a child and then present it in the most beautiful way possible. We saw that happen in the havocking nature pillage The Impossible in 2012 when he made us cry tears of rekindling joy, and of course in the stunning 2007 horror The Orphanage, which was Bayona’s debut film.

To bring out the natural flair of Lewis’ acting prowess Bayona brims up his life with ample loner shots before bringing the Monster in. His direction is so pleasantly lucid that you find yourself reading a child’s thoughts on the go. It has proper focus to dribble emotions right into your hearts.

A Monster Calls walks in with three, nay four, extraordinary stories with hidden meanings and messages. All of them are beautifully done with outstanding CGI. The Monster appears very real too.

Plot of A Monster Calls Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

To begin with the prologue we find Conor (Lewis) staring at a tree. He is constantly miffed by a nerve-racking dream. In it he finds his mother portrayed by Felicity Jones caving into an annihilating earthquake. It swallows her up, leaving him helpless and stranded in the process. We find him leaving for school, preparing his own breakfast, dressing himself up for school, in short, taking care of himself. His mother is sick, and it is up to him to look after himself. With that, you can almost see how Conor’s nightmare is perfectly poetic and in line with his biggest fears.

He summons up a monster voiced brilliantly by Liam Neeson who presses on telling him three stories for extricating Conor’s nightmare. All of these stories are strewn across the movie and in context with things happening with his life. The tree monster claims that since it was itself the common element in every tale, it knew very well what went on in those tales.

Stories are wild creatures, When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?

Three Stories of Tree Monster

The first story is about a kingdom that was miffed by vile creatures. A king loses all his sons except one to them, who grows up to become a warrior. Before he comes of age, however, the king marries a beautiful young woman. Soon the king dies and the world believes that it was her who had poisoned the king. To keep the reins of the kingdom in her hands, she plots to marry the prince. However, the prince runs away with a farm girl who he was supposedly in love with. They stop to rest under a tree (the monster).

On waking up, he finds the farm girl murdered. Declaring that it was the queen who had murdered her and convincing fellow farmers of it, he wages war against her along with them. The tree monster awakens and joins the attacking mob, however, the monster saves the queen in the process carrying her to a faraway land. The reason the tree monster saves the queen is that it saw the prince killing the farm girl to snatch the throne wrongfully.

There is not always a good guy, Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.

The above story reflects the life of Conor as well when we are introduced to his grandmother whom he abhors profusely.

Second Story of Apothecary and Parson

The second crucial story is the one that deals with an apothecary, a guy who is inclined to treat diseases and ailments using conventional methodologies. Fighting him off is a new world parson who discourages everybody from going to the apothecary for treatment. He stops the parson from cutting down a healing tree (the monster tree) that could have allowed him to cure any disease in the world.

However, one day Parson’s two daughters become really sick and all his attempts to cure them goes in vain. When nothing works he finally falls down to his knees seeking apothecary for his help. The apothecary refuses him when he finds out that the parson is ready to sell his faith and whatever he stood for, just for the sake of saving his own daughters.

The tree monster surprisingly awakens to decimate the parson’s house even though clearly apothecary seemed at fault for not helping the parson. The monster believed that if the parson hadn’t been so selfish in the first place, he would have been able to save both his daughters by allowing the apothecary to cut him down. He wasn’t staying true to himself by deteriorating from his path, and so he needed to be punished for it.

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you’?

In the real world, Conor destroys Grandma’s house believing it to be Parson’s. When his grandma finds it, she doesn’t punish him for it, since she considers it a mere ripple against what’s imminent.

Grandma: Worse things happen at sea.

Conor: Aren’t you going to punish me?

Grandma: What could possibly be the point in that?

The Third Story of Invisibility

The third story was supposed to be about a boy being invisible.

There was once an invisible man, who had grown tired of being unseen. It was not that he was actually invisible. It was just that people had become used to not seeing him.

It actually happens when Conor is tired of being invisible. When everyone (including his mother) keeps treating him as if there was nothing wrong with his mother as if he did not deserve to know what was befalling her. The fact that he already knew that his mother had cancer made it even sadder. On being bullied once again, he breaks all hell loose on his predator, by calling up the monster and beating the hell out of him.

As an aftermath, he finds the whole world looking at him, of him becoming visible, of everybody knowing about him, of the principal acknowledging his presence.

Dad: Love isn’t enough. It doesn’t carry you through.

Conor: So, you didn’t get happily ever after.

Dad: No, but that’s life, you know? Most of us just get messily ever after.

You can order A Monster Calls Movie from here:


The Fourth Story: Conor’s Nightmare

As mentioned before there were actually four stories, the fourth one being Conor’s acknowledgment of his biggest nightmares. It is summoned by the monster actually that recreates the exact setup Conor used to imagine, and re-imagine as his nightmare.

You waste the precious time that is given to you.

His biggest nightmare, however, wasn’t letting his mum fall into the maws of an abyss but was that he wished it all to get over. Like an innocent brain wishing a thing and phase to pass, he had secretly wished for his mother to die. It killed him, wondering if he had unknowingly brought that fate upon her.

I can’t stand knowing that she’ll go. I want it to be finished. I let her fall. I let her die. I deserve punishment. I deserve the worst. I’ve known forever that she wasn’t going to make it. She’d keep telling me she was getting better all the time because that’s what I wanted to hear. And I believed her. Except I didn’t. And I started to think how much I wanted it to be over.

The Acceptance

The second sane sacred brain of his that hadn’t had the chance to accept the unacceptable finally gets a shot at understanding the impending disaster when he is pushed on by the monster to actually feel the pain. The unstoppable cancer then does its job.

Belief is half of all healing. Belief in the cure, belief in the future that awaits. Your belief is valuable, so you must be careful where you put it, and in whom.

You see in all the above stories, the common element was always the tree monster. Even though Conor accepted its existence as a mere fancy, he used it to justify all of his acts. In the end, we get to know through the artistic portrayals of his mother’s drawings that the monster and all the characters of his story were actually figments of his mother’s imagination, that she had once used to narrate him stories of.

I wish I had a hundred years. A hundred years I could give to you.

image of conor sleeping under the tree monster in a monster calls

Amazing Parts

One of the best lines from the movie is when Conor’s mum understands. She says that she knows and fathoms everything that went inside the head of Conor. In one of the frames, she is shown actually nodding to the monster who by the way doesn’t exist. But is in a way suggestive of how mum comprehended everything that the little lad went through.

One day, if you look back and you feel bad for being so angry you couldn’t even speak to me, you have to know that that was okay, that I knew. Because I know everything you need to tell me without you having to say it out loud.

It is hard not to marvel at the magnificent watercolor paintings in the movie. The fact its paintings were created as a result of blowing water paint on the paper made it appear even more gorgeous. The CGI is absolutely ravishing too. Stories are brilliantly played out giving the story its innate perspective.

The most destructive scenes from A Monster Calls is, I believe, is when Conor tries to reason with her mother why the tree monster couldn’t save her when it was supposed to? It’s hard to stop your tears from breaking the dam of emotions. Also, when he runs wild on finding out that her death was inexorable.

Conor: I let her go. I could have held on for longer, but I always let her go. Now she’s going to die and it’s my fault.

Monster: You were merely wishing for an end of pain. Your own pain. It is the most human wish there is.

The Final Verdict

A Monster Calls is an absolute wonder. It is a movie that fits the shoes of the actual book just fine. To help it achieve that is, of course, Lewis MacDougall’s brilliant acting, and Liam Neeson’s grave voice, and also the movie’s exceptional CGI. Transitions that go on inside the frames of all the stories are simply awe-inspiring as well.

The drama of the movie is simply top-notch. I would recommend this movie to everyone. I have placed this in my avant-garde collection since it banked on an unusual bold story-line to bring an imaginary beast from a child’s head out in the open.

It ends with the boy holding on tight to his mother. And by doing so, he can finally let her go.

You can check out the trailer of A Monster Calls Movie here:

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