Reviews written by registered user
|26 reviews in total|
Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind is complex yet touching wonderful story
about a Mathematics genius John Nash who suffered paranoid
schizophrenia. The film covers a lifetime of a man, his ambitions, his
pain, his struggles and his discoveries. And the person who took the
center stage is brilliant Russell Crowe. However, it is not safe to say
that the film is flawless particularly the direction - Howard's
direction is focuses and tight in first two acts. But in third act,
when the Nash gets old, the film goes like a conventional tear-jerker
Hollywood schmaltz. Based on the book, the screenplay is very well
written by Akiva Goldsman. The film does not entirely follows Dr.
Nash's life and times, and did took some creative liberties showcasing
his life. Also, I wanted to see a bit more of Nash's work the film
barely touches that.
Cinematographer Roger Deakins and composer James Horner contributed amazingly to the film. Editing in between the middle is slightly slow in pace, but I am nit-picking here. The man of the show is Russell Crowe. He brings great sense of humanity and emotions to his portrayal of John Nash. His body language, his dialog delivery is so effortless that you really think that he is John Nash. Jennifer Connelly also did a great job portraying Nash's loving wife. She was pitch perfect in many scenes, and perhaps her role itself defines the word 'Supporting'.
A Beautiful Mind is a well made film with wonderful performances. Although flawed, it is a film that will be remembered for Russell Crowe's beautiful performance. The film is a must watch, but it is certainly not a masterpiece.
No Country for Old Men is what I call a film with great potential. The
potential of being a masterpiece, potential of reaching same heights of
"Fargo" or "Blood Simple". But by the third and final act, the film
loses its narrative arc and it resolves into just a good film.
The first, second and third acts of the films are truly gripping - genuinely thrilling. Every muscle on the faces of all the actors moves exactly the way it should, following the directors' vision; the actors' enunciation is 100% perfect, and the dialogs, frequently minimalistic, are flawless. But by the last act, the graph drastically falls, characters don't get their proper send off and the film basically ends without any conclusion.
The film is fueled with damn good performance by Javier Bardem, stunning photography by Roger Deakins and some great sound design which compensated for music score. Bardem is eerie, creepy and down-right chilling as Anton Chirugh, a ruthless psychopathic serial killer. His stone cold expressions are imported straight from hell. Bardem's Chirugh is one of the best on screen villainy I have seen. Josh Brolin is decent enough, Tommy Lee Jones is just there. Bardem outshines each and every cast member and steels the film.
Roger Deakins' (who unfortunately again didn't won Oscar) work is marvelous. The bleak, deserted region of South Texas is wonderfully framed and composed. Deakins played with shadow and light so well in jaw dropping sequence of Motel confrontation, that alone deserved an Oscar.
The film could have been so much more - only if the screenwriters/directors Coen Brothers could've made the ending of the film a little bit more cohesive. The biggest folly made by the directors was the off-screen death of Moss. In the end, the whole film resolved into nothing and you are left disappointed.
...and ends with a bang. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is
a near-perfect movie, with jaw-dropping visual effects, spectacular
acting showcase by veteran British actors, grand production design and
an emotional end.
The film starts out where the Part One ended - Voldemort now possess the Elder's Wand, Harry and his company set out for a mission to destroy all the remaining horcruxes. The first outstanding set piece in the film is the breakout at the Gringott's Bank and a bumpy ride on a enormous Dragon (very, very well made CGI).
The film will make most of the fans happy and a wee bit emotional as well. The film has certainly the most critically acclaimed film of the year, and sure the film will break many box office records.
Daniel Radcliffe is pretty decent as Harry (as always), Hermione and Ron don't have much to do except for supporting Harry. But the Ralph Fiennes and Alan Rickman stole the show - Ralph's vulnerable Voldemort is highly affecting - specially his hisses and heavy dialogs - are perfectly delivered. Rickman, although with even a with a screen time of some 10-15 minutes, gives a performance of his career. Among the others, Maggie Smith is awesome as McGonagall, Julie Walters finally gets a kick ass moment and Helena Bonham Carter, is just outstanding in the early scene where she plays Hermione.
The film is not flawless - specially after King's Cross scene onwards, the film feels a little rushed. The whole Elder Wand theory is not properly explained. And the final showdown feels a but anti-climatic.
But still, it is one of those rare films in which you have to over look the flaws - after all it is the end of a generation. Director David Yates, screenwriter Steve Kloves, production designer Stuart Craig, cinematographer Eduardo Serra, composer Alexandre Desplat and hundreds of other technicians gave the fans most fitting finale.
3D is a bit dim (as always), but not very bad. Still, there are some standout scenes in 3D - watch it in both 3D and 2D if you can.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 marks the end of an amazing era. I wished Jo wrote another novel.
If you're not, then watch this film. After quite a long time, I have
seen a film which is near-perfect. Outstanding story, outstanding
acting, direction, music, production design, cinematography, editing
and what not.
The film is a fictionalized account of life of a Roman General Maximus, whose family is murdered (crucified), he himself is ordered to be hanged, all thanks to evil emperor Commodus. However, the destiny had other plans, he is turned into slave, into gladiator and ultimately he is fated to avenge his family.
Probably Ridley Scott's best film, his magnificent vision of ancient Rome and focused direction is something to be applauded. His way of story telling has unique style to it. He got almost all things right - ranging from costumes to acting, sets to cinematography.
While film's story sounds like some classical Shakespeare tragedy, David Franzoni, John Logan and William Nicholson manage to give the script a cinematic edge. Although the film suffers some schmaltzy dialogs here and there, but it is engaging enough to keep the viewer on the edge of the seat.
The film's sheer USP is the lead actors - Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix. Viewers feel the vengeance and sorrow of Maximus. Crowe's portrayal of Maximus is very humanly. Crowe manages to show the most complicated complex emotions in a very effortless way. But for me, Joaquin Phoenix took the cake away for his Commodus - he is as evil as a Satan but the same time, we all feel for him. Sometimes he behaves as if he is a sociopath, but again, he behaves as if he is not loved. Phoenix's pure acting talent will leave you spellbound.
Apart from above, the film features amazing score by Hans Zimmer. The tracks "Wheat" and "Progeny" are completely haunting and they echo to your ears even after the film is over. The film features beautiful photography by John Mathieson, which is, of course, is highly color graded, but still, gorgeous none-the-less. Production Design by Arthur Max is breath-taking - you are really immersed into the 180 AD Rome.
Another thing worth mentioning is the visual effects used in the film - the complete re-creation of the time-period, the digital reconstruction of Colosseum and of course the CGI tigers - are all outstanding, and it is very well justified why the film won Oscar for Visual Effects.
In the end, Gladiator is highly entertaining, and at times, tear jerking film which is extremely well-made, fueled with great acting of Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix. Do not miss it.
8.5/10 (rounded off to 9)
The Chronicles of Narnia film series, after the first great
installment, has tumbled. Disney backed out after the failure of Prince
Caspian at the box-office, while Fox is backing up the series. Trying
to regain its strength back, the new film in the series, Voyage of the
Dawn Treader is plain average.
With some good first 10 minutes, Voyage of the Dawn treader spends lot of time in monotonous search of "seven swords". The middle of the film is very slow paced, with some very boring CG spectacles. The film gains its momentum near the last 30 minutes or so, with a good action sequence with a sea-serpent. Apart from pacing problems, the film suffers from "uninteresting" script. The film suffers from lack of suspense or mystery and dull dialogs.
Michael Apted, however, tried his level best to lift off the film with some few nice touches here and there. The best thing happened to the film is Will Poulter who played Eustace brilliantly as nasty and self-centered kid. The CGI character Reepicheep is also a delight to watch.
The CGI of the film looked unfinished, especially the Dragon Eustace, which felt very "plastic". May be this is due to slashing of budget by the studio, but still, we have examples of "District 9", bad CGI is obviously intolerable.
The film won't win any new fans, nor it will please any other audience except its target. Filled with Christian analogues and uninspiring 3D spectacles, Voyage of the Dawn Treader disappoints a bit, but it is still a big leap from Prince Caspian. 6/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
PAN'S LABYRINTH is probably a film which does not exactly fits into a
fantasy genre. Perhaps it is a more kind of a parallel between the
reality and fantasy, and thats what makes it one of a kind film.
Hats off to the director/writer Guillermo del Toro for a very different writing. The plot is something which is not seen before. The screenplay of the film is very beautifully crafted and very well written. The characterization of different characters in the film is also very detailed and deep.
The story basically follows a young girl named Ofelia who lives in the fascist regime of Spain. Ofelia is fascinated by fairy tales, and perhaps lives in her own fantasy world and very far from reality. She and her mother move to the house of her new step-father, ruthless sadistic Spanish Captain Vidal. After that she is taken to a labyrinth by a creature who is known as a fairy, and Ofelia meets a faun who told her that she is a princess of an underground realm, and to reach that world she needs to perform three dangerous tasks to prove her purity. I won't go into further details, but the film is just not what mentioned above. It is something much more metaphorical and symbolic.
In terms of acting, young Ivana Baquero is unmatched. She has done an excellent job playing a lonely child lost in fairy tales. Apart from Ivana Baquero, Sergi Lopez has also done a great job in portraying sadistic Captain Vidal. His expressions are merciless and fierce. All the other cast, honorable mention of Maribel Verdú (as Mercides) and Doug Jones (as Faun), are just great.
The film has top notch production values - breath-taking cinematography by Guillermo Navarro, beautiful sets by Eugenio Caballero and lingering music of Javier Navarette. Guillermo Del Toro's direction is very mature as well.
Only one thing that bugs me about the film is that the film is gratuitously violence and bloody. I don't know why, but the same thing could've shown in PG-13 levels. The violence in the film makes the film too 'uncinematic'. The film is also pretty misleading as a children fantasy, in fact it is very graphically violent. Also, the film goes a pretty too mechanical near the end, and the climax of the film could have been more emotional.
Apart from these two things, the film is very good in all sections of film-making. It is a very sad tale as well, and leaves you pretty disturbed. Definitely a must watch, but with a caution of graphic violence.
Brokeback Moutain is a very brave attempt to showcase the whole life of
a gay couple, their dilemmas and stereotypes and homophobia of the
society towards them. Ang Lee has created something very unique and
simplistic romantic film.
Script writers Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana have achieved a remarkable adaptation of Annie Proulx's short story. The dialogs are very well written and the characterization is just outstanding. The story follows two life and times of two cowboys - Ennis (played by Heath Ledger) and Jack (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) who have their own children and wives but they love each other. This unusual bond between them forms the crux of the story. Over the time, they maintain their secret relationship from the world.
Kudos for both of the Lead Actors - Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal really appear is if they are in love with each other. They have wonderfully done justice to their characters. The bittersweet romance between both of the lead actors is a delight to watch. Performance of Michelle Williams - who played Ennis' wife is also amazing. Her portrayal of a woman who knows his husband is a gay and her ultimate decision is very beautifully played by Michelle.
The film is beautifully shot. Rodrigo Prieto's cinematography is very flamboyant. Filmed in eye captivating locations in Canada, the wide shots of beautiful mountains and landscapes are breathtaking. Music by Gustavo Santaolalla is pretty much minimalistic - just a guitar playing throughout the movie but it is very melodious and lovely to hear and it worked like a charm in the film. Ang Lee's direction, as mentioned above is very clear cut and he is on the focus throughout the movie.
In the end, the film will be a remarkable landmark in history of American cinema. It will probably change the view of some people - The film is not for just gays, perhaps it is for every person who believes in equal rights for everyone. And of course if you want to see something unusual, but yet very touching romantic film - Brokeback Mountain is for you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Children of Men is one of the most innovative dystopian book of modern
times. It is beautifully written, with a wonderful concept. It really
enlightens us with one of the terrible nightmares of mankind -
infertility. And its adaption falls no short.
Wonderfully written, directed and conceived by Alfonso Cauron, the film displays 2027 as a complete chaos - Several governments of different countries collapsing, refugees from different countries seeking safe shelters in Britain, and British Government, trying to clean off the fugees like pests. Declared as police state, England has become a place of civil assaults, uncontrolled oppositions and several fugee groups like 'Fishes'. And our hero, Theo gets unexpectedly involved in a voyage - a voyage to safely send world's only newborn and her mother to off coasts of the Britain.
Clive Owen does a great job as Theo. Perhaps the film in fact is made for him. Other actors like Michael Caine have a very memorable performances. Julliana Moore had a very short role, but she was good.
The film depicts very realistic images of civil wars. It is very moving as well, and full of intense sequences. Alfonso Cauron does an exceptionally great job in pulling off all these 'war' scenes, they are very very authentic. Cauron's whole presentation of the film works like a charm. And yes, this time too he used wide angle lenses.
One thing for which this film will be reminded is its very innovative cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki. The film had a very 'documentary style' feeling to it. There were long takes, perhaps very long and several scenes were shot with hand helds, very effectively. And one thing more to mention - the film was mostly shot in natural lighting. The whole atmosphere created by Lubezki is just short of words.
'Children of Men' is definitely Caurons best work to date. He really is one of the best foreign directors that Hollywood has.
Memoirs of a Geisha is a film which will be remembered for its top
notch production values. Awesome cinematography by Dion Beebe, mystical
music by John Williams, Colleen Atwood's stunning oriental costumes and
beautiful production design and sets by John Myhre. But alas, the story
itself is very bland and the film resolves into nothing.
Rob Marshall is known for its pretty films - generally with beautiful music and rememberable cinematography. His previous film, Chicago swept major Oscars at its time, but for Geisha, we can't expect anything but technical awards.
A major thing that people complain about is the film's Chinese cast, playing Japanese characters. However, the nationality does not matters if the actors are good enough. Ben Kingsley played Mahatma Gandhi, and no one complained because the acting was marvelous. But in Geisha, all the actors performed somewhat average, and no one really did anything great in terms of acting. However, Li Gong did fairly well out of the others. Ziyi Zhang was plain average, and Michelle Yeoh provided the necessary 'geisha' grace in the film which other female leads lacked.
The very heartbreaking thing is that the screenwriter Robin Swicord did not properly researched about the Japanese traditions and Geishas in particular. As Roger Ebert said, "The more you know about Japan, the less you like the Memoirs of the Geisha". His characterization is very weak and the bond between Sayuri and the Chairman never becomes compelling. There was no chemistry between the both lead actors, Ken Watanabe and Ziyi Zhang hardly had any strong scenes together. Rob Marshall himself looked as if he is very busy in showing the beautiful locations and camera work by Dion Beebe properly and he hardly cared about the character development.
Never the less, the film is not the worst film by an American on Japanese culture. But it is not great either. The film is decent, and by its end, it feels that you saw a beautiful film, but not a great film. And yes, the film is very very stunning, the shining Kimonos, lovely Japenese gardens and beautiful women dancing in vivid lighting done by Dion Beebe, Cello and Violin solos by Yo Yo Ma and Izthak Pearlman, respectively, under the composition of John Williams are all very unforgettable. In short the film is beautiful, but hallow.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Prestige, is yet another example of how talented is Christopher
Nolan is at screen writing and film presentation. He has this thing of
creating the illusion in the audience's mind and finally tricking or
fooling them in the end. The film itself, is a trick, and it is up to
the audience that whether they get themselves fooled or they find the
reason behind it.
As the novel, the film revolves around the obsessive rivalry between two fellow Magicians, Angier and Borden. They do a lot of hard work in cheating each other, defeating each other, and in the end -- None of them wins, exactly.
The film is presented in different threads of story lines, which are interwoven together and near the end, these threads, produce the real picture, the reality. Outstanding work has been done for the film by both Nolan brothers for writing such a complex yet sophisticated adaptation of the novel. The film's plot joins the list of twisted ending films like the Sixth Sense.
Production values are marvelous in the film. Cinematographer, Wally Pfister gets each and every shot perfectly pictured. The lighting, the colors are magnificent and they complement to the film's dark tone. It is, Wally Pfister's best work, so far. He really brings the chimera of the film through his camera. Editor Lee Smith, again, does a great job, perfectly pacing the film and getting the right scenes at right places. Production Designer Nathan Crowley's set are outstanding, the era of Victorian London of early 1900's is beautifully created by his team. However, music by David Julyan is underplayed or perhaps his score itself is bland, as compared to such an amazing film.
This film is not Christopher Nolan's best, but yet it is very good, and will keep you on the edge of the seat until the secrets are revealed. Not to be missed. 8/10
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