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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:

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.

 

The Nice Guys Review (2016)

Crime is supposed to be an engaging platter. Unfortunately The Nice Guys doesn’t score high in the riveting department. It goes really light at times where the call of the hour is to depict tangibility, au contraire, goes full savage where we could have lived without. There is an element of surprise at most places where you feel the flick’s true flair working magic for it. But then there are times when it simply falls flat.

DIRECTION OF THE NICE GUYS

There is a certain unpredictability about Shane Black’s direction which makes his style of film-making undoubtedly unique. Grinding humour into serious situations is something that he uses immensely. However, it wasn’t the real genre that forms the basis of the tale. It’s the 1970 LA crime scene that does. It takes two booming industries in the backdrop to narrate its telling tale – porn and automotive, and tries to bank on a bigger government conspiracy to cloud its offense.

To top it all, we have Ryan Gosling to do us the honours. His Holland March is a rare character with qualities of fun, subtlety and disgust all written in a single leaflet. He showcases a rare finesse that makes his character the most admired one. Contrasting his character is a grimmer Jackson Healy portrayed by Russell Crowe who is kind of okay in his shoes. Both make an unusual pair who aren’t really nice and yet so, as they try to figure out the mystery of the missing girl. But do they have the chemistry that we wanted? The answer is no!

WEIRD EMPTINESS AND DISCONNECT

The plot is well written as it unfurls slowly into precarious trenches of foul play. The Nice Guys is pretty dark suggestive of Shane’s magnificent style again. But the movie tried to sell itself on humour in the trailers which was actually kind of belying. All the laughs that the trailers packed in were the only ones the movie had. You constantly feel there is something missing and you could taste the hollow as connections don’t really connect you.

Melodramatic substance is fairly missing, something Shane isn’t really a fan of, I surmise. So, you can’t take anything seriously, or expect to feel for any losses. Frames get gashed at unpredictable junctures which question the editing of the movie profusely. Yes, the editing isn’t that great.

However, there are two things that are constantly working for The Nice Guys – The plot and Ryan Gosling! Remember at the end The Nice Guys isn’t a fun movie. It is serious stuff just metamorphosed into fun by some Shane spices.

The Big Short Review (2015)

Can we ever forget the big bad ugly “Great Recession”? Just when you were trying real hard to forget, bam! comes The Big Short, forcing you to relive the pain again. But wait! Don’t be fooled just yet. It isn’t like any other mainstream movie, or a drama to focus on the severity the great fall brought along, or the lives it uprooted, or the devastating aftermath it brought along with the punishing tide, rather a prequel to how some geniuses had envisaged the collapse way before, and decided to swim across.

Adam McKay packs in an excellent exposition to depict the players of The Big Short, with Ryan Gosling as Jared Venett, the guy with exceptional presentation skills (yes watch out for that bit!), Christian Bale as Michael Burry, the autistic polymath who was the first one to figure it all out, Steve Carell as Mark Baum, the lunatic front-runner to milk out the mortgage shortcomings, Brad Pitt as Ben Rickert, the laconic beast-banker who mentored Charlie Geller and Jamie Shipley played by John Magaro and Finn Wittrock to bet against the dwindling housing market. McKay’s direction is one of a kind, as he slams frames mid-way to not focus on apparent conversations. He steers in its comic factor by asking characters to look at the camera mid-way for emphasis. Occasionally playing recorded video frames to make it all look more appealing. You can almost perceive the effort he has put in to break down the gorgeous Michael Lewis book.

“You know what I hate about fucking banking? It reduces people to numbers.”

Screenplay of the movie is extraordinary. There are so many words selected from profound areas that fill in the voids of sentience. Dramatic bits in the movie are just so right, that you always feel connected with the adrenaline vibe. There are so many banking terms incorporated in the flick expounded in laymen terms by renowned personalities like Margot Robbie, Anthony Bourdain, Selena Gomez and Richard Thaler that make things easy to gobble.

The moment the flick reaches its climax, you know what’s coming, but you still end up with a feeling of satisfaction for those who managed to milk the Great depressing cow with a smug face that barely read “We told you so!”

The fact that it isn’t confined to just one perspective drives home its enthralling factor. The story of the people, who saw the monster coming from a distance, makes you want to plunge in the bandwagon too, but alas the procession is long gone and recession pervades. It gives you a sense of contentment to see the hefty checks protagonists managed to weave out of a disaster. It is inspirational in a way and makes you want to get instant rich too. Well, you can do that! Just be a genius and watch out for such loopholes in the system.