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Life Movie Review (2017) | A Spine-Tingling Sci-Fi Thriller

Life movie is yet another critical speculation of alien life form if we were to encounter one whilst prodding into the unknown. Even though the movie sends the message loud and clear that while trying to scour through uncharted enclaves, we might be endangering our whole planet in the process, what it also does is create a thrilling environment to execute its brilliant horror. If you focus on the thrilling formidable part alone you are going to simply love it. It’s climax has a badass twist which is definitely going to leave you satisfied.

While there are a lot of movies out there on a similar theme, and the concept is somehow trying to steer us towards not messing with things we don’t fathom, Life movie still remains however an edgy intriguing take on the extraterrestrial.

Theme and Plot of Life Movie

What happens when you try to understand the unexplained? The possibilities are immense when you really look at it. But that’s when you are optimistic about things. What if things begin to go south? What happens then? That’s the primal theme of the Life movie on which you find it riveted.

A six member ISS team is able to successfully capture a soil sample from Mars. Subjecting the specimen, segregating a single-celled organism from it, Hugh Derry played by Ariyon Bakare is able to bring it to life by adjusting it to an artificial atmosphere. They find it turning into a multi-celled organism pretty quick and that it reacts pretty well to stimuli. Each cell has a myocyte, neuron and photoreceptor of its own. Owing to that it’s dubbed to be all muscle, all brain, all eye. The organism is named Calvin after a school’s name.

still of baby calvin in life movie

One day due to a lab accident Calvin becomes dormant. On instigation for the fear of losing it, with the help of mild electric shock, Calvin becomes hostile and animatedly attacks Hugh. It is able to escape the cube, disintegrates a lab rat within a matter of seconds, and grows in size. When Rory Adams played by Ryan Reynolds tries to save Hugh, Calvin grabs hold of him too and despite him trying to kill it with an incinerator, it enters his mouth killing him slowly from the inside.

Following that incident Calvin escapes via a vent. What follows is sheer madness with the crew trying to fend off an omnipotent alien who is bent on killing everything it finds on board just for survival. What’s worse is the size of it keeps growing, and it’s impossible to kill.

You can order Life Movie from here:

The Metaphor of Life

Even though the concept herein is supposed to be a tad glib, you can’t help but connect it with the bigger picture. What if “we” humans are nothing but parasites like Calvin? What if we were inevitable too? All the animals, birds and plants extant today were trying its best to fend off humans, but we stuck, glued in like Calvin for survival. And we obliterated all signs of life, because all we cared for was survival.

I mean just look at it, we came along on a meteor annihilating the entire species of dinosaurs completely. We were also a result of single-celled organism that turned into variants of multi-celled ones. We swallowed the good, took everything by force and rule the planet like the next dinosaurs. In a way we are nothing but a paragon of Calvin.

Screenplay and Direction

Screenplay of Life movie is extremely poignant. At times when people stop to reflect, that’s when you come across some of the most powerful lines the movie has. At one point David Jordan played by Jake Gyllenhaal narrates an excerpt from “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown and it spirals you into infinity thinking.

Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light. And the red balloon. Goodnight nobody.

Daniel Espinosa has directed the flick beautifully. I loved how there were long continuous shots of camera wherein the man behind the lens floated alongside its characters. People who went out were often shown from the vantage of people watching from the inside which was a subtle take.

There are however moments wherein it becomes really hard to concentrate because of all the red lights, you don’t know what’s going on or where’s our predator hiding. Also, actors are closely shot which populates the entire screen with their face. I think in the entire flick there wasn’t a single shot showing any actor properly which kind of made things monotonous with the camera.

The end somehow becomes predictable when you realize what is going to happen. It could have been wrapped more under clouds of doubt so that the audiences couldn’t have possibly seen anything coming.

The Final Verdict

Life movie will bring out pious horror from within. Calvin the antagonist is like a cockroach you can’t kill. The only difference being a cockroach isn’t on the prowl. Calvin is hunting and it is willing to do anything to suck life out of you for survival.

The way the movie ends it compels you to speculate which is a pretty great feeling. You can’t help but imagine what might happen next. It leaves threads open for sequels.

Life is a sci-fi thriller that shouldn’t be missed for the world.

Check out the trailer of Life movie here:

 

Justice League Dark (2017) | Batman’s Inclusion As Pointless As His Grunts

After seeing Justice League Dark I wasn’t surprised why the movie was chosen to hit videos instead of theaters. Magic is yet to find its place in the DC universe, even though Doctor Strange has achieved that so effortlessly without lifting a finger in Marvel. That too with a gargantuan theatrical venture. Justice League Dark only picks pace during its visceral ending where a good climax lurks, otherwise it stretches owing to its jaded plot and exhausting conversations.

Pages of Time

I was introduced to the world of Constantine by the Keanu Reeves movie first. I had heard about him before but with that infamous heroic act of his, a benchmark was set. Despite countless comics of the mouthy occult detective doing the rounds, the TV series was yet another area that had piqued my interest. Matt Ryan was a perfect pick but the story-line and the gravitas took a backseat there. He is badass! End of discussion. But the fact that DC always comes with flaky stories to bolster him, that’s what bothers me.

Even though Justice League Dark tried to show him in a cool heroic light, they tried to aggrandize him with that Justice League tag. As a result we have the World’s Greatest Detective Batman in the front-line. But given how he didn’t have a good plot to bite on, Batsy is left administering grim “Hmmmmm….” remarks which was supposed to be funny, but ends up becoming very irritating.

image of etrigan the demon in justice league dark movie

We get to see Etrigan the Demon origins here which was a good story per se. To cater its multiple plots Justice League Dark tried to run the Etrigan-Jason Blood plot parallel against the cardinal Ritchie Simpson and Felix Faust plot. It was good nevertheless and helped in giving the story a good side plot to bank on.

Theme of Justice League Dark

The main story starts off really well when humans all across the world begin to fall under the clutches of an incantation that forces upon them visions turning everyone into monsters. Justice League intervenes and tries to insinuate magic involvement which Batsy refuses to accept. At home, Deadman tries to overpower Batman, fails of course, but implies him to meet John Constantine.

To grab hold of him, Batman meets Zatanna only to find Constantine holed up in the House of Mystery. That’s where a team is formed to investigate the face behind all those mysterious worldly magical happenings. The team keeps expanding with the inclusion of Jason Blood who is looking for his Dreamstone, another subplot where we are told about Destiny a sinister magician’s fate.

It is up to the newly formed team then to find the root cause of the main problem, figure out and tackle paranormal and mystical inhibitions that come along their way and of course to win the occult war which the JL is incapable of winning by themselves.

You can buy Justice League: Dark here:

The Inevitable History

John Constantine is a notorious exorcist. Wherever he goes he has a history with someone. So to detour the story every time we are forced to go past a conversation where John doesn’t back down, and someone else is forced to intervene. We can see that happening with literally every character in the movie. At one point it becomes really exhausting.

All that magic puts Batman in really awkward shoes. You can’t help but feel sorry for him. Writers try really hard to still show him in a light that doesn’t degrade his awesomeness. At times they succeed, but really there are some instances that are downright vexing. Like how could a mortal like Bat sense the shrouds spirits of death around and say “Boo!” to them? And you can’t help but shake your head when they respond to that too. Batsy scares death! Newsflash!

The Final Verdict

If it weren’t for the final twist the movie carried nothing, and I mean nothing. There are conversations that bore you to death and magical fights that feel akin to a childish hocus-pocus. Apart from the out of the world feel that is hard to put a perspective to, Justice League Dark runs only because it had a curious flicker of a plot for its culmination point. That’s it.

Screenplay isn’t exciting either. At times made good by droll Constantine remarks, but that’s about it. You can still watch it if you are big Batsy fan and smirk at the thought of him playing second fiddle to a story that wasn’t his to run. Constantine fans are going to rejoice to find him do cool stuff, and own the show. Because primarily it is a Constantine movie and not what its misleading title says.

You can check out the trailer of Justice League Dark movie here:

The Red Turtle Movie Review (2016) | The Speechless Leaves You Speechless

Whoever thought the mute can’t speak? The Red Turtle movie might be a film where no one talks but not for a second do you feel like you are watching a dead screen. Because in the background goes a beautiful score that aggrandizes an already fantastic tale of a shipwrecked man who meets a Red Turtle whilst trying to escape an island. The story is reflective of our lives, and acts as a parable for us to figure out the analogy.

One look at the animation and you feel reality taking an alluring form. It’s stunningly done,  and brilliantly brushed. Every scene looks like a painting worth keeping. The turmoil in the head of its protagonists looks real, and so does all of his choices. There is humility in him, struggle, love and a fighting attitude that turns The Red Turtle movie into a learning experience.

Plot of the Red Turtle Movie (Spoilers)

If you look at the plot of The Red Turtle movie it looks like a lore, a fairy tale that we grew up reading about. To be honest it doesn’t call for an explanation only your interpretation of it, of how you choose to relate to it, take out the gist and enjoy its countless similarities to life.

It holds true for every fairy tale out there. There are no dragons, monsters and fairies in real life. Just the good and the bad things. Situations that topple your lives over with their icky monstrosity.

The Red Turtle movie is a profound journey of a man’s life where he gets stuck in a flood, then in an island, lost and alone. In his stay of entrapment, he looks for things he could use to feed himself and survive. Also he wishes to go back where he came from.

The Red Turtle Movie Still of Man Trying to go on a Raft

He builds a raft to set out for the sea, but fails to go the distance owing to a mysterious blow that breaks his raft. He tries again, and fails. Then again, and fails, only this time he finds the reason gawking at him with mute eyes. A Red Turtle, the likes of he has never witnessed before, is the one who is the destroyer of his dreams. The Turtle once again topples him over, before swimming away.

On returning to the island furious this time, spewing fits of anger, the man finds the same red turtle making its way to the beach. Taken over by fierce madness, he bludgeons the turtle hard and topples him over, and jumps over its chest. That image of beauty and elegance goes silent. He realizes that it’s dead. Soon he is overwhelmed by guilt.

The Beautiful Woman

One day however the shell of the turtle breaks, and comes out this beguiling woman that changes his will to go back. Smitten by her, he decides to stay on that island. They have a beautiful child and it almost seems like a happily ever after. The child grows up into a young man who learns to stand on his feet. He learns the way of the ocean, befriending turtles and knowing whatever his little world has to offer. But he is curious for more.

A tsunami hits them destroying their island in the process. Amidst chaos he finds his parents again. After a few more days of torpor, the child’s parents could read his willingness to see more of it. Thus, he bids farewell to his parents and sets out for sea. The old parents then lead the rest of their lives in that island loving each other even more until the day they pass. The woman turns back into the Red Turtle before disappearing into the sea.

Interpretation of The Red Turtle Movie

I believe there could be as many interpretations to the movie as many thoughts exist in the universe. Mine tries to look at it this way:

A man stuck in a storm is akin a cardinal adversity that life flings at you. You are alone, trying to face it with all you have got, but it drifts you away nevertheless.

When the man finds himself on an island, it is like a situation we are not comfortable with, that we didn’t ask for, but got anyway. Maybe a state of mind or a job that we are averse to, but it somehow gets us by. We always have that inbred wish to go back to a past that we came from. That could be made out with his obstinate wish to return to the sea with a raft with hopes to make it to his land. He fails incessantly at it, but he never stops trying only to realize someone or something toying with his life.

Our first reaction to anything that stops us from doing what we wish for is anger and frustration that hits the poor creature bluntly without realizing the consequence of the action. It is instantly reflective of how we choose to ignore people who are trying to help us out by stopping us from heading into the wrong direction. The island was supposed to be his destiny. But he was too recalcitrant to notice.

Reason to Live

As a result the poor thing dies. Then there is regret. We tend to burn in a hell of our own doing, our own thoughtless action only when it’s too late. To his surprise, enters a girl in his life emanating from a theatrics of a red turtle. The purity of his profound emotions rewards him with a reason to make life less painful.

image of the red turtle woman and man

All this time he wanted to run from a place he didn’t to want to be in, but then with her ingress he finds a reason to stay. The juxtaposition of leaving and staying is enchantingly managed in the movie. He experiences love and bliss. Stays and leads a happy life to give birth to a child. A child who is yet to learn the ways of the world. One of the most wonderful parts is the part where her mother stops the father from saving the child, as she believes in him that he is capable of taking care of himself. She lets him learn how to find a way when stuck.

The child finds a bottle on the shore one day. It’s analogous to us finding wonders and miracles in life, wondering all about it, wishing to see more of it. The parents then teach him everything they know. But there is more to the world. We can’t cage a bird that wishes to fly. So, the child leaves, as is the way of life, of every creature who exists on the planet who wishes their offspring to see what they have seen and more. The turtle-friends of the child were nothing but opportunities in the world that keep calling you for things you could do, and be.

The Huge Takeaways

The Tsunami is yet another nod at our unprecedented life. It keeps throwing at you obstacles that you have to fight, in the process finding each other, looking after and caring for the ones you love. Eventually all there is, is love. And that we can find only when we have nothing to worry about, so is suggested when they have the island for themselves.

When the protagonist passes away, I loved how she responds immediately to it, as if she sensed his soul leave. It is hands down the saddest bit in the movie, and brings tears to your eyes.

When we see the lady turn back into the red turtle again, we realize she was a good time. A paragon of elegance, support and grace that came into the life of the fallen, showed him that it was alright even if you are stuck somewhere, that you can make the most of it.

The red turtle was an analogy for that one person, or chance in your life that comes at a point when there are no doors open. It makes you comprehend life’s biggest lessons.

“We should be happy with what we have, and try to make the most of it.”

Life put us at a place; the nature placed us at its disposal. If we try to run away from it, we are to gain nothing but destruction. It has laid out its beautiful plan for us. It intends to make things better if we pave way for love, and not run away. There are good things for everybody. Sit tight and enjoy the ride. Your time shall come!

The Final Verdict

The Red Turtle Movie is an outstanding flick. One of a kind. The setup of course doesn’t require anybody or anything to speak up. So there’s no dialogue whatsoever. Despite of that, the movie shines through owing to its mind-boggling life like animation, its surrealism, the correlation it packs in and owing to its extraordinary pulsating thrilling music that uplifts every frame into a level your brain cannot possibly register. Awesome stuff!

I would like to place this movie in my avant garde collection, since it is so eloquent even though it’s entirely mute.

You can check out the trailer of The Red Turtle Movie here:

La La Land Review (2016) | An Exhilarating Dramatic Musical for Dreamers

If there’s a definition of astounding in your head, then La La Land simply surpasses it. It’s literally spellbinding! And we aren’t only going by the story here. The music, the setup, the acting, the metaphor, the screenplay, the editing, the choreography, everything has been given ample thought and scrutiny before the actual execution. And you can expect only a genius like Damien Chazelle to ace everything to perfection.

Theme of La La Land Movie

La La Land carries that quintessential dream every dreamer has. It is about not giving up even when the whole universe seems to be plotting against you. The flick is about following your dreams till the end, about you being willing to take risks and make colossal sacrifices to reach there. It being a musical is often sprinkled with gorgeous songs that are well executed and complemented by Justin Hurwitz‘s stunning compositions. Even whilst you listen to the Jazz play, you can’t help but time travel two years ago when Whiplash had showed up. Amazing exhilarating music!

image of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as Sebastian and Mia in La la land movie

Fascinating Drama (Spoilers Ahead)

La La Land will rip you apart, tear you down to a million pieces. It is so profound that it touches just the right chords. And it does so by its genteel build-up. There is that thrill of a growing relationship, the perfection that seems to have been made in the stars. It goes on like that, reflecting life, and when you are least prepared, it drops the real bomb on you. Climax becomes havocking all of a sudden. It leaves you grieving, forcing you to feel its pious pain. It ends up talking to your cheeks with those teary beads.

This is the dream! It’s conflict and it’s compromise. It’s very, very exciting!

It is when you listen to Ryan Gosling play his song “City of Stars” on the piano for the first time, that you understand the level of uprooting music La La Land packs in. It is sad, profound, soothing, and in a way really satisfying to listen.

You can check out the music here:

His character Sebastian‘s way of re-imagining a life with Mia played stunningly by Emma Stone is what gives the movie a gloomy punch. It is the most nerve-racking moment of the movie. You feel the sudden gush of emotions burst all dams when you realize Sebastian wished everything undone, unwritten and then rewritten in his memories with Mia in it. I ended up in tears. It’s really that profound.

You can pre-order La La Land movie from here:

The Chemistry

Whilst there are movies that skip the chemistry to feast its plot, we get served a perfect one here. Both Sebastian and Mia create such a beautiful world that you forever stay on their high. There are metaphors galore that Chazelle uses via his songs. Like the time when they start flying in the air, even though they were actually sitting. They dance their way into the stars and cross galaxies together. It leaves things for viewer’s imagination, and it hits just the spot.

Ryan Gosling simply steals the show. There is something about him that captivates you almost instantly. You feel his pang, if he is sad. You feel his vibes when he is happy. Even when there is nothing to show but sarcasm, you feel him there too. He brings that uncontrived flair to his work that is just remarkable! When you watch him go psyched about Jazz, he makes you reflect on things that you have been passionate about all this time too.

You could just write your own rules. You know write something, that’s as interesting as you are.

Emma Stone is an equally great performer. Twice does she go into that full-blown acting mode, whilst giving those powerful auditions. The aura that she retains and the energy that binds her makes you want to give her a standing ovation every time she slithers into that mode. With that you just know the casting for La La Land was done perfectly.

The Final Verdict

La La Land deserves all the accolades! It is a movie that makes you want to retrace your dreams, inspires you to go after them. It’s romance acknowledges that perfect key that awaits your lock. It shatters you to pieces when it tries to showcase unfulfilled possibilities. Musical lover or not, it is a movie that needs to be immediately seen. Grab some tissues before watching this beauty of a movie.

 

Kubo and the Two Strings Review (2016) | Bewitching Animation

Words bereave me as I try to put this one together. Kubo and the Two Strings had me mesmerized. And not just by its breathtaking realism, but by the calm in its thoughtful direction, and the peerless work that it tagged along. Very satisfying!

The movie forever carries a hint of grim element, and is not afraid to walk across dark enclaves in order to provide us with an amazing tale of a one-eyed young boy named Kubo who is on a magical quest to find his father’s armour to defeat a wicked Moon King.

Extraordinary Animation

Looking at the animation of the movie, you can’t help but wonder – Can stop motion really reach such fascinating levels of allure? Well, Kubo and the Two Strings surpasses all! Who makes that possible? None other than Travis Knight the lead animator, also the actual mind behind exceptional movies like Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls.

You can’t applaud Travis Knight enough. Apart from the fact that he can ace Herculean jobs as an animator, he can also direct better than most of the directors out there. So, he proves with his sharp presence of mind. The transition of frames happens through walking into a tree or a wall. And it does so with such a peaceful nimble snap that it is hard to tell if the frame had actually changed in that teensy swift scale.

What I also loved about Travis’s direction was how he imparted Kubo and the Two Strings with a charming gait. The movie is literally abounding with focus. It lets you feast on every single frame letting things percolate beautifully. You can perceive minuscule details in his frames, and that’s what makes his frames stunning to look at. Owing to that, even though Kubo and the Two Strings banks on a fictitious tale for its plot, the movie doesn’t falter at all at any point.

Plot of Kubo and the Two Strings

The story is more of a fantastical take set against the backdrop of ancient Japan. One-eyed Kubo takes care of his ill mother. He uses a Shamisen to bring inanimate papers to life. He performs in a nearby village to get himself and his mother by.

If you must blink, do it now. Pay careful attention to everything you see and hear, no matter how unusual it may seem. And please be warned, if you fidget, if you look away, if you forget any part of what I tell you, even for an instant, then our hero will surely perish.

Kubo is a storyteller and he barely knows his past. In her mother’s ephemeral jovial moments is he able to fill himself up with stories of the past. He is fascinated by tales of his father and yearns to meet him in person. But her mother warns him not to venture out when it’s dark coz that’s when the moonlight shines bright meaning the Moon King, his grandfather and his aunties might see him. His mother tells him that they are after his other eye, and that this rule be followed at all costs.

One fine day however in an attempt to rekindle with his father’s soul, Kubo ends up staying out late.

I just wish you were here, so I could talk to you, see you, find out what I should do.

A big mistake! That’s when the attack of the aunties happen. His mother pays the price for it as she intervenes just when things were about to go south. She saves him asking him to find an armour, the only way that can possibly defeat the evil Moon King.

Ensuing Magical World

still of monkey and kubo in kubo and the two strings movie

As Kubo wakes from a tumultuous backdrop, he finds a monkey voiced by Charlize Theron calling out his name. He realizes that the monkey was in fact none other than a toy he used to carry around with him at all times. The talking monkey tells him that she was brought to life by his mother before she died. The only thing Kubo is left with is a strand of her mother’s hair.

This bracelet, her hair, it’s a memory. And memories are powerful things, Kubo. Never lose it.

On their quest to find the armour they find a human soul trapped inside a beetle. He claims to be working for his father Tatsu but isn’t sure because of a memory wipe out scene.

Thus the ultimate quest begins to find armour elements that are placed at unusual places, as magic and perversion from Moon King and his mother’s sisters try to stop them from achieving that goal. In a life that had reeked of loneliness almost all the time, Kubo reflects of how amazing it was for him to be a part of someone’s company, with:

I have never had a meal sitting between anyone before.

Sentient Kubo

Kubo is so thoughtful that it syncs you instantly with his feelings. His one eye can grasp little things that are of colossal import to him and you can’t applaud him enough for that.

Sometimes I would tell my mother stories about little things. Like skimming rocks across the river or catching fireflies in the mulberry fields. And when I told those stories, I could see her eyes were mostly clear. I could tell she saw me. Really saw me. I could see her, too. Her real self. Her spirit trying to fight its way out. It was beautiful.

Tiny lippy movements of the protagonist are so beautifully done that it almost makes you feel as if he is an extant creature.

You have to give it to Tatsu voiced by Matthew McConaughey who makes his character even more lovable. The story of his mother that climaxes with:

You are my quest.

and which is soon followed by:

I had seen the wonders of the universe, but the warmth of his gaze as I looked into his eyes. That, that I had never known. It was his humanity I saw. And it was more powerful than anything in my cold realm.

brings power in his story and it makes it even more warm.

still of all characters from kubo and the two strings movie

Then it has that contemplative paragon of a song as well which is depicted by flying golden heron that are believed to carry the soul of the departed.

How do you see a song?

To which the reply goes:

You look.

That moon reflection, water droplets falling everything was beautifully imagined and executed.

Downsides

Trying to look at the downside, things escalate too quickly. For example you are not really prepared for a whimsical alteration, but then it happens which kind of kills the mood. And then the final bits with the Moon King doesn’t fill you up with wonder much since you are prepared for the cliched ending of the tale. There is nothing eye-candy like about it and you can’t help but wonder if the trouble to reach that grimy end justifies truly.

Also the fact that the gloom that comes right after when his parents get killed hasn’t been shown properly makes it even less plausible. The story however nibbles such drawbacks.

The Score of Kubo

What makes stop motion frames of Travis even better is Dario Marianelli‘s outstanding score. It imparts depth to his ethereal animation. It complements the actual story-line of Kubo, and gives much more meaning to it. Even when Kubo is simply walking down a forest or a desert there is always that beautiful composition playing wonders in the backcloth.

You can check out the trailer of Kubo and the Two Strings here:

 

Doctor Strange Review (2016) | Benedict Cumberbatch Uplifts the Uplifted

Doctor Strange is as badass as Marvel gets. You take the inbred flamboyance of Benedict Cumberbatch into consideration and remove those palisades of expression that bind him, you take his innate knack for humour and let it flow with his perfect timing, you let him really get under the skin of a character that you so profusely adore, and lo! You have got yourself a winning movie.

Benedict Cumberbatch: The Winner (Spoilers Ahead)

Haven’t we always secretly wished Benedict Cumberbatch to portray a superhero at some point? With a diverse portfolio like that of his, that keeps getting better every day, playing a superhero for him was always on the cards. Yes, he gives you more reasons to love him every day. This time by joining forces with the Marvel golden goose that has never really missed. It doesn’t miss this time either.

benedict cumberbatch as doctor strange in doctor strange movie

When you take a good look at the movie, Benedict Cumberbatch is it. He is there in the entire movie. In every frame, in every act you can feel his strong presence. That being said, Doctor Strange is all about it too. Such a great sorcerer he is that you can’t want him enough. And so he delivers! His solo movie that runs all by his magic fuel.

Humour in the movie is just the right amount as Marvel prefers. Melodrama is superbly complemented by Benedict’s knack for it. You can’t help but feel sorry for him when you see him completely decimated by that car accident in the beginning. The seemingly torture that follows is havocking for him, and he makes you feel all of that. It is a relief when you find his life head towards a different purpose.

Characters in Doctor Strange Movie

Rachel McAdams does a great Christine Palmer, firing up that fun element whenever Strange’s strangeness is around. Scott Adkinson as Lucian gets another ephemeral yet a fairly good part with Marvel; he doesn’t go unnoticed. It is Tilda Swinton however as The Ancient One that steals the show forming the primal carver of the story. The part where she wishes to go, when time stops has been gorgeously manifested. The screenplay there reaches levels of awe.

still of mads mikkelsen as kaecilius in doctor strange

Mads Mikkelsen invests himself well, doing a powerful Kaecilius but unfortunately gets a very limited part to prove his perversion. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo looks very promising and has a bright future ahead with Marvel.

Astounding Bits

Even in those rare vexing fight scenes, Scott manages to hold everything together. The depiction of the Sanctums, and the confusion of topsy-turvy worlds have been helmed with a superlative touch. One of the finest things that happen to Strange is the Cloak of Levitation. Instantly takes you back in time to remind you of Aladdin’s Magic Carpet. Extraordinary stuff!

Steve Ditko’s original comic series has been paid plenty of tribute on numerous occasions. That scene where they fight in an Astral plane as Palmer operates on him, is so intelligently thought of that you cannot applaud the creator enough.

There is beauty in Scott’s depiction as Strange bends time to his will experimenting with the fate of an apple. The final climactic scene to force Dormammu to bow down to Doctor Strange’s bargain was one of the most brilliant ways to vanquish someone. It goes on to show how insane Doctor Strange’s powers really are. You can’t help but wonder how strong is Doctor Strange really?

You can pre-order Doctor Strange movie from here:

Direction of Doctor Strange

I have always admired Scott Derrickson’s direction. Even in a movie as powerless as Deliver Us from Evil we found him steady as a rock, working hard. He never lets his sobriety wane, and that shows in his diligent work. Thus Doctor Strange has been helmed too. Right from the point of giving us a badass perspective into the life of the extraordinary yet egotistic surgeon Stephen Strange to the point of him coming to terms with subsequent dimensions in our reality, scenes have been brilliantly directed.

Downsides

It is what follows immediately after however makes you wish there was a better visual exploration about the things we don’t know, rather than immediately getting up to speed with Strange quickly packing in powers, and heading towards unveiling the secrets of the Eye of Agomotto. It seemed as if that was the only thing left to do at Kamar-Taj. Forced!

still of tilda swinton the ancient one showing doctor strange astral plane

With that awe-inspiring push into the extant multi-dimensions, Doctor Strange’s vision is something that will give you goosebumps. It makes you think of all the possibilities that stay hidden from naked eyes. Till that point of time you are gnawing at a lot of plausibility. But then it bereaves you when things kind of speed up. You don’t see the Ancient One taking Strange for a ride after he begins learning stuff, which in fact, sadly pulls off the plug from reality.

You come back wondering – it’s a comic after all. Stephen’s transformation into the superhero we think he is, gets affected owing to that, and it heads into your vantage of Marvel’s illusion almost immediately.

Doctor Strange Movie Editing

Editing, I am afraid, hasn’t been done properly either. As the movie quickly gallops towards an astral perspective, you see a lot of scenes getting chopped off mid-way, in order to move on. Viewers aren’t allowed to have a proper focus when it’s the learning hour for him.

To the point where the learning of Dr. Strange begins, the flick works seamlessly with ample plausibility. And then in order to move the story forward you see frequent time lapses making it chug at the speed of bullet.

Also, the fact that there is no calm sieving explanation of how and why laws of physics are bent in their worlds or how it all functions. I wish Ancient One had taken him for a ride explaining their ways of living, even though it would have been a spiritual sojourn, it would still have made things a tad more believable.

The Final Verdict

At the end of the day, Doctor Strange remains a character in Marvel’s colossal database. And that too one of the finest ones! MCU has been blessed with Benedict’s presence now. I guess it is time to show him crossing ways with the other Sherlock. Can’t wait for that!

With Benedict joining the elite house of the Avengers, things are endearingly heading towards the ultimate act of badassery.  And Thanos wink intended.

Yes there are end credit scenes. Two of them. So you can wait if you like fitting pieces in the puzzle.

Here’s another cool article I wrote a case study on Hulk’s cardinal sedative. Check it out.

You can also check out the trailer of Doctor Strange movie here:

Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie Review (2016) | Reacher is Lost

We have lost him! I repeat. We have lost him! Jack Reacher Never Go Back movie has forced one of the most badass protagonists to fade into vacuity. All that smug style and mannerism whilst fighting and figuring out crime has lost its shine in this garish sequel. Jack Reacher that Christopher McQuarrie had so beautifully carved in the first one has been completely obliterated. And you can’t just blame the movie’s direction for it. Somewhere the plot asks of you to hold it against the wall too.

Lee Child’s Jack Reacher

Even though we hadn’t aced the Reacher Lee Child had created by taking Tom Cruise in the vanguard, he still looked fine in the first one. Primarily because Tom Cruise had created a different grim persona altogether that held him apart from his other roles. He let Reacher stories bank on his dour comportment and McQuarrie made sure of that with his subtlety. He wanted people to fall in love with him all over again.

Edward Zwick, au contraire, let go of that ingenuity. His frames miss out on the subtlety. The story chosen doesn’t give you the adrenaline rush either. It ends up becoming just any other movie, and not what Jack Reacher truly deserves.

Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie has taken the heroics of the super human Reacher to new lows. We don’t see his intelligence unspool much here, which kind of beats the movie’s purpose in the first place. Jack Reacher has to be complete badass. Period.

Plot of Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie (Spoilers)

A huge conspiracy is at play. It has swallowed up and is in the process of subjugating Major Susan Turner, played by Cobie Smulders. Jack believing her, since they used to talk on phone on numerous occasions in the past, ends up trying to save the wrongfully accused Turner. Jack is being pinned on a murder of Turner’s attorney as well with whom he was seen a couple of times before. With the intent to get Turner out, Reacher reaches in and sweeps her away to figure out who is trying to play her.

still of Cobie Smulders as Turner in Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie

Unfortunately things are strangely contrived in Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie, giving you an impression that every set up has been placed in order to create individual scenes. That being said, it lacks a natural flair of frames that is supposed to continuously hunt for awesomeness. We don’t see much of that going on here.

Another one of the greatest bummers this movie packs in is via its subplot. A stale tale of a daughter angle! There is literally a non-existent chemistry of father daughter relationship present in the movie. It wasn’t shown or acted properly. What would really make one shake their head is the climax scene, which you see coming BTW. You know you are supposed to feel for both the characters Samantha (Danika Yarosh) and Reacher, but you just can’t. Because in the entire movie there wasn’t anything solid given to you to chew on. How could one feel for its absent drama?

Screenplay

Looking at the screenplay of Jack Reacher Never Go Back, there isn’t much in that department either. One of the coolest lines in the flick, however, gets delivered by The Hunter portrayed by Patrick Heusinger.

still of Patrick Heusinger as the hunter in Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie

It’s people like us. We can never go back to the world.

That’s when you realize how odd Reacher is, and how he doesn’t fit in the normal world. Amongst other ones, most of them are laughable, the others are pretty cliched like when he is bowing The Hunter out with a final blow, he says:

Look at me! Look at me!

It lets you in on the burning wrath in him. But it gets over in a jiffy with his blow, and dies down just like the antagonist.

Bright Sides

To look at the shimmering horizon, the plot was well kept under the wraps. And everything keeps happening for a reason. It doesn’t break the order as some movies often do by jumping to different frames to vex people. It is a gradual unfurling that makes everything perceptible. When you look at the fight scenes, even though there is nothing memorable that you go home satisfied with, it still is very natural, and that’s where the flick manages to keep up.

still of jack reacher in never go back jack on following him

There are some thrilling moments that are squeezed in as well. Like Jack’s disappearing act followed by him bashing a car window to warn those who follow him. Also, the unfazed jump at The Hunter in the end where they both fall off a roof. It goes on to show the colossal import of the concept of saving lives, and sacrificing himself for others without worrying about his well being or safety.

You can pre-order Jack Reacher: Never Go Back here

The Final Verdict

When you don’t go with high expectations to watch Jack Reacher 2, you will be surprised that it’s fairly enjoyable. But when you do, that’s when you begin to see its shoddiness, and how there isn’t even a pinch of subtlety in it. The movie doesn’t do anything to beckon ogles. It ends up becoming too mediocre for a character like that of Reacher’s.

Jack Reacher Never Go Back is Lee Child’s 18th book in the Jack Reacher series.

Check out the trailer of Jack Reacher Never Go Back movie here:

 

The Girl on the Train Movie Review (2016) | A Whodunit Thriller That Leaves you Guessing

The Girl on the Train is a whodunit mystery. Tate Taylor tries to keep the real murderer well under the wraps at all times in the girl on the train movie, trying to do ample justice to Paula Hawkins’s novel of the same name. However, in an attempt to cover up, and tie everything down to the story’s culminating point, he seems to be unknowingly rushing towards the ending. That leaves Tate Taylor’s work a tad impoverished for its grim theme. Characters of the movie don’t get a proper focus, and you kind of hate every one. Nevertheless, when you focus on its fine plot you realize that Paula Hawkins had weaved one hell of a tale, and for that you cannot praise her enough.

Characters in The Girl on the Train Movie

The Girl on the Train movie commences with a slow jerk, with overwhelming thoughts of Rachel portrayed brilliantly by Emily Blunt. I am pretty sure it would have sounded a bit different if the screenplay had zoomed in on her broody thoughts more than focusing on just the materialism. Her yearning to live someone else’s life, her vantage that sees a stranger’s rewarding world and tries to compare it with hers, her perceptive theories that try to write stories on already written pages, and her constant yammering and reasoning with herself in search for a direction were all literally shouting for better subtle and artful frames. Unfortunately Tate didn’t realize that.

still of emily blunt as Rachel in the girl on the train movie

We move on just like that speeding train without getting a hang of her emotional trauma. Then we see Tate introducing us to the second most crucial character, Megan portrayed by Haley Bennett. She is a perfect fit with a constant gloom that looms over her. She tries to display all phases of her life, the past, the present and an impending horrible future in her countenance. Her comportment is that of an intense indifference that lurks somewhere in the hollows of her eyes.

Other Characters

Anna played by Rebecca Ferguson on the other hand gets the least amount of focus. You don’t see her unfurling that well. Tom’s character portrayed by Justin Theroux seems most of the time absent. Edgar Ramirez creates Dr. Kamal Abdic as Megan’s shrink, and is a guy who basically listens to her, and given his profession, understands her troubling woes more than anyone else. Scott played by Luke Evans is simply a guy who ends up being cheated upon, and later lied to by Rachel. He doesn’t get a proper screen time. With such cameo kind of roles you feel like, it is the director and not the story that is basically trying to steer you towards the enigma.

The Inebriated Plot (Spoilers Ahead)

Rachel is an alcoholic, and she drinks so much that she has become amnesic. So much that she is in a constant wont of blacking out every day. It is then others who fill her in about her acts. That’s like a curse per se. She has been divorced by her husband, who has married Anna now and has a baby with her. Glimpses from the past haunt her, and it is hard for her to move on.

still of haley bennett as megan in the girl in the train movie

Megan is a gorgeous lady with a troubled past. She babysits Anna and Tom’s child, and lives a few blocks away from their house. But her backstory will bring tears to your eyes. I just wished her dismay to be captured better than what Tate showed us. She lives with Scott, the guy with the perfect body, but unfortunately she has been cheating on him.

In a series of fuming events, Megan disappears and nobody seems to know where she is. Rachel who had unknowingly bonded with her, (a one way) by simply staring at her life through the panes of a train ends up blacking out on the very night of her disappearance. And sadly she was the only one who could have guessed the culprit.

The movie is then her attempt to figure out who the real murderer is, and she doesn’t rule herself out as well.

You can pre-order the movie The Girl on the Train here:

Other Issues

The thing with crime drama is that it mostly revolves around characters. And each one demands irrefutable attention. But there is so little to the character development here that makes you hate each and every one of them. There is nothing relatable served to you, and that’s where the disconnect lies.

The timing of this movie is also one of those issues. It was released alongside Inferno, another movie that had belied memories to blame for, almost a same amnesic plot build up. The similarity is very uncanny.

still of Rebecca Ferguson as Anna the girl on the train movie

Another vexing fact is that Tate Taylor tries to confuse the viewers even more by showing glimpses from the past in constant running frames. Even though it’s a ballsy attempt at subtlety, trying to dislodge the timeline into dissonance, it sometimes becomes too much. As if trying to figure out what’s happening wasn’t enough!

The Final Verdict

A movie like The Girl on the Train needs a profound calm. Something that lets you think alongside the protagonist, or may be relate to her character, by understanding her.  Sadly that’s profusely missing. However, the movie still remains a very intriguing crime story that will leave you wanting to know what’s coming at every juncture.

Bottom-line is, The Girl on the Train movie could have become so much great, but it ends up becoming a mere adequacy instead.

Check out the trailer of The Girl on the Train movie here:

Don’t Breathe Review (2016) | Tortuous and Perturbing Thriller

Don’t Breathe or The Blind Man will hear you! Fede Alvarez comes with a twisted tale of a twisted blind man who lives in a land of the deserted. Those blind eyes tell a story that people always read without knowing about what secrets house in that wretched house of his, until one day three robbers decide to plunder him of his riches. That’s when you see past the belied story of the man. That’s also when you discover how abominable it is.

don't breathe movie trio Money Alex and Rocky

The titular thriller justifies the theme of the movie perfectly. I found myself literally holding my breath to ensure the protagonist made it unfazed. What works terribly well for the movie is its plausibility quotient, the way the storyline unfolds by staying true to its roots, and how everything stays connected one by one with steps in the same ladder. All of it makes Don’t Breathe seem very tenable.

Direction of Don’t Breathe Movie

Fede Alvarez’s direction is simply top-notch. The way his camera moves along with him in the house will leave you with goose bumps. To top that all there are weird surprises at every corner and that’s what makes it both terrifying and thrilling. To see Stephen Lang pop up out of nowhere breaking those absent rooms with his presence, is outright criminal!

still of the Blind Man in Don't Breathe movie

You cannot overlook the music of Don’t Breathe either; superbly complementing the theme, racing down alongside the thrill! It instantly puts you in the right mood.

Plenty of Dope Thrills (Spoilers Gasping Ahead)

The fact that there are many points of culmination in Don’t Breathe will often oscillate you to and fro flinging you towards a surefire neurotic arrest. You will constantly find your heart in your mouth as you try to escape the nefarious blind man yourself thinking at the speed of light just like the unfortunate trapped souls.

That time where the characters grope in dark has been brilliantly shot. Their eyes are dilated as they scrabble to escape their misery in pitch darkness. To have lived something as awful as that is bound to tingle your spines. Also, it hasn’t been stretched which makes it even more delectable.

To ice the accursed Blind Man, we have a badass dog, a Rottweiler that comes at odd junctures, making things even more baleful. It brings that frightening steer in the tale and that fills the movie with even more horror.

still of don't breathe dog in dont breathe movie

It takes in the vanguard a dispensable character Money played by Daniel Zovatto of the It Follows fame, Rocky played by Jane Levy whom we saw in Evil Dead in the 2013 reboot, and Dylan Minnette as Alex of the Goosebumps movie as the thieves who choose the wrong house. Each one of them were superbly cast.

You can pre-order the movie from here:

Downsides

One huge thing about the movie is the weighing in on of its crime. The fact that the intruders were criminals themselves, technically you shouldn’t feel sorry for them rather deem everything as poetic justice. But when the real trepidation begins to trickle you realize murder beats them all. You can’t help but take sides.

Also, we have seen plenty of thrillers that skim the line of Don’t Breathe before. Except for the fact that the killer here is blind; if you take out this apparent crux, the movie stands strangely on the lines of what we have seen plenty of times before. If it weren’t for Fede’s brilliance, it would have failed to impress.

The Final Gavel

Don’t Breathe is edgy, thrilling and an exhilarating joyride into the crime vale where you are left at the mercy of a psychotic blind man. If you are a thriller aficionado, this movie is just for you.

Go ahead and watch this one!

Check out the trailer of Don’t Breathe movie here:

War Dogs Review (2016) | Smart, Witty and Fun | A Tad Unscrupulous

War Dogs is a crime biopic made thoroughly exciting by its cast. I have always enjoyed watching a Todd Phillips movie. It doesn’t rip you apart with humour alone but also thrives on a great theme throughout, primarily with a story that makes every bit delectable. The bottom-line is that there is always something to look up to in his frames, and that makes the imminent, full of promises.

War Dogs is no different. The biopic though fictionalized beyond limit to scooch in theatrics, comes out as an enjoyable piece that shatters doors of gravitas to bring that smile to your face. What work for the movie are hands down mind-boggling performances by its duo, and its uncanny witty theme. Where at one hand, Jonah Hill makes his character one of the most cherishable ones ever, Miles Teller cannot certainly be overlooked either with his riveting gazing mien that brings profundity to the cinema. Both of them, with their dynamic chemistry together, make War Dogs a fun yet intriguing watch.

PLOT OF WAR DOGS

The plot is basically an intensified theatrical look into the lives of Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz. With David joining his high school friend Efraim in his pursuit to supply arms and ammunition to the US army, the movie gets into the fine detailing of how their jobs were pulled off. It is a sheer mockery of the then existent feeble policies of US that saw opportunists getting their hands warm in the Iraq and Afghanistan fire.

War Dogs begins with a brilliant diegetic tone from David’s perspective, and delves into the story of David’s life even before he meets Efraim.

“War is an economy. Anybody who tells you otherwise is either in on it or stupid.”

War Dogs is divided into various chapters with lines of crises from its own screenplay for chapter names. Each section gives away what is about to happen which isn’t actually the best way of storytelling to be honest. It takes out that element of surprise of what’s coming from it. But you have to give it to Todd for his creativity to weave Guy Lawson’s Rolling Stone article “Arms and the Dudes” into something tangible.

At one point when you almost begin to think, if War Dogs is just meant to caper all along on its fun theme, the movie proves you wrong almost instantly. You see it enter deeper waters. Drama becomes impactful and you realize all that hourly fun of awesomeness is heading straight for the deep muck they had signed their checks for. Dramatics come galloping then and it levels the movie with its theatrics giving it a perspective and a direction.

DOWNSIDES OF WAR DOGS (SPOILERS INCLUSIVE)

If you stare hard at the downsides of War Dogs you will see how much of the detailing have actually been overlooked. To show you what you wish to see, a lot of the backdrop is made to disappear in your subconsciousness. A city in despair doesn’t feel like it when you visit it through Todd’s fun frames. There is no real tension you perceive. It wasn’t intended to get serious at any point, I surmise.

Also, you can say the same by looking at the character Iz played by Ana de Armas. Tension is not allowed to transpire at all. She ends up becoming nothing but a nagging wife.

still of ana de armas as Iz in War Dogs movie

War Dogs also elongates the Iraq visit too much, creating dispensable humour for one Dick Cheney’s America scene, which seemed quite unnecessary. It feels like Todd might have had some extra time frames to cover or might have ran out of substance. So, he creates something that actually didn’t happen.

I really wished a profound character came along to show the perpetrators what they were actually dealing with. Why war is not what they think what it is. The gravity of working with elements of chaos as if they were playthings of a child; I think it was important to show them the misery they were offering.

They get a poetic justice in the end, which was nicely wrapped up. A surprise visit by Henry Girard played by Bradley Cooper, who prefers wearing sunglasses, felt justified on the levels of David’s morality. But when the question is posed about Bashkim’s whereabouts, Henry shuts him with money, thus leaving all his threads out in the open.still of bradley cooper as henry girard

CELEBRATING CRIME

At the end of it all, you have to understand, both Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz were really bad men. The way the movie gets manifested is as if what the actors were doing was a good thing. A context that its direction feeds you, and it is sad that something rogue and out of line like that gets celebrated.

You can’t help but notice how the movie only plays out on the vantage of David Packouz’s perspective. It puts him in the spotlight as a person who had a conscience whilst slaying Efraim’s brazen demeanour altogether. At what point in the movie does Efraim ever realize what he did was wrong? Well, never!

OTHER ASPECTS TO NOTICE

War Dogs is thoroughly entertaining. It has plenty of humour all of it coming from Jonah Hill’s natural knack for it. Miles Teller brings percipience to the story. It always gives us pleasure watching people get insanely rich. It brings smile to our faces, and that’s what primarily the movie tries to earn its green on for the better part. In the later part, we see the decline, which is a fit downhill ride anyway.

Oh and whatever happens, don’t ask Efraim the full form of AEY. Watch out for that bit!

SCREENPLAY OF WAR DOGS

The movie’s screenplay is abounding with beautiful lines, at times touching rare levels of contemplation.

“I miss not taking shit from anyone.”

Miles Teller’s diegesis continues throughout the flick dropping brilliant lines that transcends War Dogs altogether. Some lines are subtly put as well, leaving things for viewer’s imagination.

“No questions asked.”

THE FINAL VERDICT

It is hard not to compare War Dogs with the likes of Lord of War. What Andrew Niccol had created was undoubtedly and effortlessly smart, something you see War Dogs struggling with at numerous points. But it still manages to rope you in with Miles Teller’s rapt eyes and Jonah Hill’s engaging performance despite the theme movie tries to cash in on.

Despite, how good the movie turns out to be it still remains unscrupulous nevertheless.

still of jonah hill and miles teller high on weed joint in war dogs

What you would definitely take from this movie would be Jonah’s signature laugh; no doubt about that.

Check out the trailer of War Dogs movie here:

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