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Justice League (2017)
An Average Albeit Mildly Fun Film
After the critical bashing that Justice League received upon release, I expected an irredeemable pile of turd but surprisingly it wasn't that awful. Yes, BvS was a monstrosity but this film is far from being one. It's not a great movie, it isn't even a good one but it isn't terrible either. Entertaining and fun in some parts, it's a movie filled with potential that never fully materializes.
1) Wonder Woman - Gal Gadot is fantastic in the role and immediately lights up the screen when she's on it. Her presence lifts up the film.
2) Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher as The Flash and Cyborg respectively - This new Flash is fun and geeky in all the best ways possible. Ray Fisher plays a strong and brooding character who even out does Batman. They don't have much room to shine but when they appear on screen in their few scenes, they are pretty good.
3) Superman and Lois Lane - They bring tenderness, heart and humanity to the film.
4) Superman - He is finally done right and in spectacular fashion.
5) A couple of the earlier action scenes featuring Wonder Woman and the Amazons.
6) Good chemistry between the characters and some light and genuinely touching moments.
7) Jeremy Irons as Alfred is always great to watch.
1) Aquaman - He felt a bit douchey and juvenile for my taste but we'll see where they take his character in later films.
1) The weak plot - It feels like a B-grade Avengers. WB are so desperate to catch up with Marvel that they put plot on the back- burner in favor of CGI noise-fests. It's all about cash and not about actually creating a great film.
2) The awful villain - Ares from Wonder Woman was worse but man is Steppenwolf weak, one-dimensional and cliché. The boring tyrant bent on conquest and destruction who outlines his maniacal plan and is easily defeated.
3) The garish and cheap-looking CGI - It's ugly and assaulting to the eyes. For a movie with a $300 million budget, the effects are surprisingly hideous.
4) The last act - CGI-overload and predictability galore.
5) The huge boring chunks in the middle where nothing happens and the chunky editing.
6) Some of the dialogue - It's not BvS bad and is a significant improvement but there is still as long way to go. It still feels juvenile.
7) The last post-credits scene - A good thing about this film is that it lacks Lex Luthor as played by Jesse Eisenberg who was one of the reasons BvS was so awful. He returns in the last scene trying to promote further plot lines for future films. He was the weakest link in BvS so I am not looking forward to any film that will bring him front and center.
SUMMARY: It's not an awful film, it has it's moments but could have been better. I'd suggest you watch it on the big screen.
A Visually Sumptuous and Yet Sub-par Offering from a Master
Dunkirk could be classified as a war movie, an action flick or a suspense thriller depending on who you ask. For me, it's a melange of the three. The tension is palpable, the visuals astounding and the historical details are for the most part accurate. Of course there are some liberties in the factual accuracy department that have been taken.
While gorgeous to behold and offering a score that steals the show so to speak, the emotional core is rather hollow. It's a snapshot of a military disaster, a wartime slice of life as it were, a realistic but impersonal depiction of a major event during WWII. We as the audience experience it as bystanders. You see this event as the people present would have but far removed. We don't know anything about these characters apart from their immediate circumstances. I know it wasn't the point but that is what left me underwhelmed. It was all about survival but without the individual insight. It's a generalized vision of what everyone saw and felt but it takes away the personal experiences.
The film is short, very short for a Nolan film and tries to weave multiple threads and timelines together. An event of this colossal nature cannot be summarized and this film feels like a summary. It's non- stop action and we don't get to experience the psychological turmoil and trauma, the emotional turbulence and deeper character interactions that would have naturally occurred. Sure there are some harrowing scenes of this nature but they are very few. The score is brilliant but manipulative and tricks you into feeling something that you wouldn't otherwise feel. There is no strong protagonist per se, we experience it through the eyes of everyone in the area. It's ambitious but emotionally distant. We zoom from land to sea to sky, the timeline is so squeezed that we don't feel the any of urgency the characters would have felt. Time is the vital factor, a sense of it's moving slowly and the panic that it elicits is absent even though the score features what is essentially a ticking clock. The visuals and cinematography take focus away from the human element. It would have worked much better as a character- driven miniseries in the vein of 'Band of Brothers' or 'The Pacific.'
Alien: Covenant (2017)
The Prognosis Is In And It Isn't Good
Firstly let me get this out of the way. I love Alien. I adore Aliens. I find Alien 3 and Resurrection to be good thrilling films. Prometheus was one of my favorite films of 2012 because it delved deep into the mythology of the Alien-verse. It give us something deeper and mysterious to ponder over. It's like the Silmarillion, it was Ridley Scott attempting his own mythopoeia, taking a new cerebral and darker direction in the fantasy realm..
Alien: Covenant on the other hand is an appalling film. It's a rehash of Alien (1979) except the characters are one-dimensional clichés and absolutely forgettable and bland. Calling them one dimensional would be a compliment, they are far worse. The film is full of contrivances and clichés that want to forcefully elicit emotions. It is so indelicately handled that it will make you want to puke. Back to the characters, they are boring, they have no purpose and their presence is just an excuse for a mind-numbing blood-fest. I didn't care about the characters, their decisions were questionable and I means seriously idiotic, the dialogue was wooden and unlike the other films in the series, there wasn't an urgency for survival. There were too many characters and you just don't get to know any. And since killing them all off is the purpose of the film and the film is approx. two hours long, they have only a few minutes of wasted screen-time.
The story is beyond predictable, laughable even, ridiculous. If you don't see the plot twists coming from a mile away, you weren't paying enough attention or you simply were bored and dozed off, I wouldn't blame you for either because this film is rather dull. Let us not even call them plot twists, they are too stupid and obvious to be called that. Suggesting there is a semblance of a plot is a compliment. There is no story. I feel like there was a creative drought because you've seen all this before.
The alien has always been a pop-culture and horror icon. It barely gets screen time in this film and when it does it isn't scary, thrilling, suspenseful or fun. It is just a mindless killing machine that kills quickly and moves on with no terror or sense of dread built in. If I am making comparisons, it feels like the last two Jaws sequels. It's like a B-movie or a tenth rate slasher movie. The alien in this movie is a plot device or better yet, a cameo. The alien was a bore and when the alien who has been a source of dread for decades is a snore, there is a huge problem. It served no purpose, and I reiterate that the actual alien is only on-screen for a few lousy minutes.
I loved the world building, imagination, fantasy elements, mythology and mystery of Prometheus. This film throws it all out of the window. It makes me question the point of Prometheus. It completely does away with all the intrigue and though-provoking questions from Prometheus within seconds to get to the cheap gore. It was such a cop-out. They just decided to do away with all the interesting elements.
It's just another glossy CG bore fest. If you've watched Alien then this is an awful remake but with very little of the titular alien and none of the suspenseful horror or intelligence. In addition it is rushed to the point of incoherence. A lot about it doesn't make sense. It tries to tie-in with Prometheus in the most silly way after which it does away it's connection to that film by pretending that Prometheus never even happened and it takes on a new and hackneyed direction. I was left with so many questions about how the ending of Prometheus could lead to this mess but I guess the point was to write out Prometheus and go back to well worn sci-fi tropes. Easily one of the biggest disappointments of the year. I left the theater feeling rather upset and let-down.
The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
Mindless and Unoriginal Garbage, A Shameless Rip-off!
It'd be an insult to toddlers to call this film toddler-fodder, that is how pathetically cliché and unoriginal it is. Let's get everything out of the way shall we? The animation was mediocre, the concept utterly banal, the humor non-existent and the depth, well there was no depth.
Yes it is an animated movie primarily aimed at children but are children nowadays so dumb as to accept such mindless drivel, to think this as entertainment? How far the animation standards have fallen or perhaps I should say how far audience intellects have fallen!
The animation quality is so third-rate. You'd think the movie was made years ago. The CG is just awful. There is no intelligent story. In fact there is no story. It is just almost an hour and a half of copy pasted scenes from better movies, highly unoriginal. A C-movie Toy Story with talking animals, lacking the wit, heart, humor and all-age spanning wonder of the Toy Story films. It borrows heavily from many films, not just Toy Story but the likes of Bolt, The Incredible Journey and Homeward Bound, Garfield: The Movie and 101 Dalmatians with snippets of several other films mixed in but less endearing. In fact it is closer to Garfield, almost identical sans a few tweaks. Basically, dog gets jealous of another dog, they get lost, learn to work as a team and happily ever after with other animals trying to help them. The character development is non-existent and the little bit that is there exceeds acceptable clichés. The laughs are practically non- existent. I laughed once or twice at most. The theater-goers laughed once or twice. The minions short before the movie was funnier and more likable than the feature it was preceding.
The only saving grace for this film is the talented voice cast who are utterly wasted.
Let's be honest, this film is a shameless cash-grab. The ads for pet companies and other Illumination Entertainment films within the film are eye-roll inducing. Only the most staunch of pet lovers will adore this because they are clouded by affection for their pets instead of really seeing what a dumb film this is, overlooking how bad it actually is. People like pets, so using that psychology to goad the public is a clever move to create an undeserving blockbuster. I love animals but I dislike idiotic movies whose only purpose is raking in the money! It was beyond juvenile and such a sad waste of potential. It could have been good but unfortunately it was poorly executed in the name of box-office cash-in.
There are better animated movies out there, in fact Illumination Entertainment have made films several times better than this one. Please do yourselves a favor and watch something else because you've probably seen this movie before since it copies so many films already out there.
The Phantom Menace 2: This Decade's Colossal Disappointment!
This in a nutshell should have been the title of this ludicrous drivel. One of the most anticipated films EVER, a beyond-stellar cast, a rich comic book history to derive from, a titanic budget, a visual director, fantastic writers and music maestros galore and yet even they couldn't save this shameless mess.
Will it make money at the box office? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is that even a question? Ardent fanboys will be blinded by denial and self-delusion as with most franchises. Then of course the movie is primarily targeted at the Transformers and Fast & Furious crowd who will make anything unworthy a blockbuster. It is zero story, negligible intellect, CG overkill and explosions, people love that. Expect billions!
Do you want to know what this movie is? I'll tell you, it is a disgusting cash-grab attempt by Snyder/WB/DC to milk billions from the masses and create a universe of their own while making sub-par nonsense. Marvel created one and so DC, feeling left behind, decided to do the same. Healthy competition is brilliant but this was a self-serving attempt to advertise their upcoming slate by creating what is essentially a two and a half hour trailer for future releases.
I came out half an hour ago from the cinema and I'm still reeling and seething with anger and dismay.
This is bad movie-making period! I'll tell you why:
1) Terrible story and scripting. AWFUL! Spoilers Ahead. In fact there is no story. A silly, juvenile and imbecilic reason is the cause of the titular bout. Something that logically could have been solved pretty quickly but then there would be no fight and therefore no box-office billions and therefore no DC cinematic universe to speak of. Everything happens so that more movies can be made. A bunch of terrorists are gunned down and Superman is framed. Seriously? The guy has heat vision, he can incinerate them, why would he shoot them?? He is enemy number one especially after the events of Man of Steel. The ridiculousness continues through paper-thin reasoning and silly dream sequences that include The Flash, also marketing his movie, giving Batman another reason to kill Superman. It's a pissing contest about who is in the right while both are being manipulated. Lex Luthor hates Superman because his dad beat him as a kid and he doesn't believe in God. Superman appears as a God-figure reminding him of his father's tyranny and therefore Sups must die. Awful! Batman almost kills Superman, nay, brutally murders him in the most unfair way, only to stop when it turns out they both are essentially mamas boys. Yeah Batman finds out that Superman's mum is called Martha, just like his own, suddenly they are BFF's. Wonder Woman appears briefly, promotes her film, then a Tolkien troll from Middle Earth arrives to cause more chaos. There is so much more crap! Incoherent and juvenile, the plot, if you can even call it a plot, serves to cause a mano-a-supermano brawl so that the title is lived up to and future DC universe films get their mentions. Batman V Superman exists to mine box-office gold, story be damned.
The dialog is hackneyed, immature and lacking conviction. Meanwhile the themes aspire to greater things including intellectual and moral musings, failing miserably on both counts.
2) Character development is non-existent. Batman and Superman are turned into violent and stupid meat-heads, very arrogant and foolish, pawns who could easily through dialogue have solved their issues. All maturity flies out of the window, entire decades of character development are ruined so that a brawl can take place. The women are damsels in distress again and again. Wonder Woman only promotes her upcoming film, Perry White becomes a less vile J. Jonah Jameson and Lex Luthor as played by Jesse Eisenberg is a kiddie Joker merged with Mark Zuckerberg, a complete annihilation of the character. A ridiculously weak and irritating villain. Hasn't enough of the DC-verse been ruined thus far? NO!
3) The titular fight sucks! It is basically premature ejaculation, over before it even started. A one-sided testosterone-fest, completely unnecessary and utterly pathetic. A yawn-worthy clash through, you guessed it, the walls of a building following which a crappy-looking CG troll that even Tolkien would frown upon descends. That is not Doomsday!
4) All the shameless future film promoting and silly excuses to set- up a fight, for box office purposes and not to progress a story, are interspersed with exhausting CG. At one point the troll becomes a lightning flashing Jamie Foxx from Amazing Spider-Man 2. Another mediocre fight and it's over.
5) The movie is a snore. The first half is a convoluted moron-fest to find as many illogical reasons to create a fight, the next half a CG demolition-galore which isn't spectacular at all.
6) It is unnerving how much promotion for future films they tried to inundate this movie with. They are in such a rush to create a universe just so that they can make up for lost ground. It is one long trailer. Don't believe me? Watch it for yourself, Lex even conceived ideal logos for the posters and promotion of the forthcoming films. A giant trailer with multiple teasers.
7) A lot of ridiculousness to the point of absurdity.
8) ANOTHER Wayne family murder sequence, like we need another, done in silly stylistic fashion
9) All those ridiculous dream sequences!
10) That tediously over-drawn ending.
Kudos to WB/DC. They knew that even an awful film would be lapped up by the so-called fans! If people love this awful movie, they deserve to be swindled and milked for every cent.
Once all the dust has settled and warring factions assuaged, all will realize that this movie that had so much potential turned out to be another run-of-the mill mediocre film undeserving of the word 'blockbuster' and certainly not a film worth fighting over.
A One-Time Watch That is Ultimately Hollow and Overrated
Deadpool is alright as a one-time watch. It is different, fun for a short while and smart when it wants to be. It's biggest asset, a double entendre for those who've seen the film, is Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. The role fits him like a glove. He is awesome. The character rocks and has multiple facets to his personality. Reynolds's comedic timing is perfect and I guess he saves the film, perhaps that was the point.
The humor showcased is what makes Deadpool different. The wit, comedic elements, breaking the fourth wall, being very referential and parodying the X-Men all the while being R-rated give it an amusing edge.
My qualms with this film are that they took the term "R-rated" too literally. He may be the merc with the mouth but the foul language feels forced as if trying too hard to satisfy the kind of audience appetites that come with such a rating. It got annoying eventually as things became very repetitive. I am no prude but the language got to a point of overkill. In addition, humor and 'language' can only so much make up for a lack of story and substance. Eventually even if it is a parody of an X-Men film or an origin story, it is still filled with clichés. If it was trying to highlight the cliché-ridden origin stories and make fun of them, the wolverine films in particular, it did so but to it's detriment as it fell into the same trap. There is practically no story, substance or depth, even originality in the story to save the film, nothing memorable. It ultimately is an amusing but empty ride when you watch it the first time.
The film is quite stylized and that fits the humor. They go very well together but sooner or later it becomes a case of style over substance. The film becomes too reliant on humor, stylized violence and profanity, while hilarious and pretty darn good the first time, it gets old.
The characters aside from Deadpool weren't given much layering especially characters like Negasonic. I expected much more.
I enjoyed the humor the first time but after I watched the film again, it didn't have the same impact. It becomes a strictly one-time watch with an interesting anti-hero but nothing else of note. The humor doesn't hold up on multiple watches, the characters are bland, the story non-existent, the action sequences unmemorable and the villains nothing of note. Even as a parody of an origins film making fun of the clichés, it sinks because it doesn't shatter them rather it falls into the same category and embraces them.
The nods to Ferris Bueller were okay, for those who've seen the end credits, but even that and breaking the fourth wall eventually became stale, overkill and banality equal disappointment after all even when paying tribute or parodying. I'm shocked that this film became so big, I mean the emperor has no clothes! You may enjoy it once, it isn't awful but after all the hype dies down, it becomes just another mediocre movie that had potential.
Stirring, startling, heartbreaking, tear-inducing, inspirational and meditative, Selma is a visionary spirit.
Every so often, there comes a film that shakes you to your very being, to your very core. One that has you meditating, ruminating and questioning the world that was and the world that currently is. A film that leaves you awakened and inspired, rejoicing with pride, crying uncontrollably, for the raw unadulterated emotions it imbues emanate forth and leave you floored. That film is Selma.
Selma showcases the harrowing hardships and struggles, the pain and loss, the strife and humiliations faced by the African American people during the fight for justice and equality, the civil rights movement. It is a film about breaking down racial barriers, stereotypes and prejudices of all kinds, in addition to embracing each other as human beings. It is about the coming together of people across a nation, irrespective of race, peacefully protesting the human rights abuses that ran rampant like a plague as a result of racism. A true and defining chapter in modern history is witnessed, one whose truths and messages reverberate through the annals of history and are just as powerfully potent and relevant today as they were back then.
Selma doesn't portray MLK as the perfect paragon of sainthood, instead choosing to focus on the man himself, a man who had his crises, a human being who like any other had his faults and flaws. This not only highlights his humanity and strength but demonstrates his passion, convictions, commitment, courage, compassion, humaneness and justness. He was an ordinary man who accomplished great things. A very inspiring and human focus on the man shows the great writing and respect the crew and cast had.
Even though Martin Luther King, Jr., portrayed with profound insight in an Oscar-worthy turn by David Oyelowo, is at the forefront of this magnificent film, it is essentially about Selma, Alabama. Selma and it's people are the main characters, a town on the brink of a social revolution for justice, a place where an explosive boiling point in a long unending struggle has been reached and enough is enough. It shows one of the many examples in the sixties and earlier of the dehumanizing of innocents, the unjust stripping of the rights of people, the unnecessary and heartrending bloodshed, the horrors of human rights abuses, the brutality and cruelty faced by the people. Even today we see these horrors experienced worldwide by people of different races, sexes, sexual orientations, religions and more, so the release of this film couldn't have been more timely.
With powerful, explosive and heartbreaking global themes of monumental proportion handled with class, dignity and respect aside, Selma is a triumph, firing from all cylinders as a must-see cinematic event. The grand nature of the gorgeously rendered production is breathtaking. The scale and scope, the costumes and cinematography are truly stunning. The roles are filled to perfection by a cast so talented and committed especially David Oyelowo and Carmen Ejogo who are a sight to behold. Their chemistry, preparation and investment, heart and soul, in these characters is abundantly clear and they render star-making performances. The soundtrack is forceful and rhythmic with each note teeming with emotional undercurrents. Most importantly, the writing and direction are in a class of their own, so brilliant and emotive; Ava DuVernay has created a masterpiece of cinema with her masterful vision.
A critically acclaimed masterpiece, this soulful and heartfelt film is a testament to the power of the medium. Yes, there is a controversy currently surrounding the film's accuracy. This is a movie after all with entertainment being one of the primary goals, so such squabbles are hardly worth mentioning. I mean, the film isn't being touted as a second-by-second documentary on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. or a detailed biography. It is a movie, a canvas, to show what once was, horrors and abuses, a social commentary that is both shocking and thought-provoking. The message is what counts, equality and humanity. Ava DuVernay has taken a very important topic and created a powerhouse of a film, artistic as well as a classic for generations to come. Irrespective of race, this film is for everyone. One of the most human and emotional experiences I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing on the silver screen. Well done to all those involved.
Interstellar: A New Hope
Words cannot describe the transcendent journey that is Christopher Nolan's undoubted masterpiece Interstellar. I will try my best but know that even these words do no justice to this colossus, this gargantuan epic, this feat of artistry, cinema and soul.
Christopher Nolan is a genius and, unlike the others who he is compared to, his films lack pretension. Most of his films achieve some sort of sentience in terms of their depth, soul, emotion, artistry, intelligence, philosophy, psychology and most importantly humanity. Interstellar takes these qualities to a whole new plane, transcending dimensions above and beyond all his filmography to date.
What is Interstellar? It is a love story, a story about and for humanity, a story of our faults and limitations, of our greatest strengths and what makes us human. It is a journey for survival, hope and faith. It is a celebration of life, family and the greatest bond of all, the parent-child bond. Interstellar is a universal celebration of the power of emotions and love. It is a tale of science and exploration, our ability to look beyond the ordinary and search for something greater, the infinite possibilities of our universe, our imagination and our ability to push boundaries. It highlights what we can achieve as a species. A love letter penned for humanity, Nolan shows his faith in the human race with this masterpiece. A journey through space and time, soul and heart, Interstellar is thought provoking, soul searching, ambitious and heroic. Intelligent and philosophical, it asks moral questions while painting an epic that traverses the space-time continuum. Conversely it questions our progress and the damage we have done to our home, Earth, painting a grim picture of humanity's future if we don't stop exploiting the Earth and her resources. We were given Earth as a home for reason and if we destroy it, we destroy ourselves, our history and future. It is as much a commentary on sustainability and nature's bounty and wrath as it is a story of hope, family and love. There is no place like home, like our Earth, so we must strive to not ruin the only home we know.
Like all of Nolan's films, everyone will interpret it in their own way. Mesmerizing and haunting, a flawless amalgamation of humanity, soul, heart, faith, survival and science, Interstellar is a new hope. A cinematic colossus of innovation and a personal masterpiece penned by a visionary in addition to being an homage to space epics of old. Interstellar is inspiring and reaches deep into the furthest recesses of the mind and just leaves you moved, utterly floored and stimulated. Interstellar will change the way you gaze at the heavens above.
The skill and workmanship that went into this film is awe-inspiring. The time, personal sacrifice and heart that made this film a masterpiece and triumph at every level is more that abundantly evident all through the picture. A pioneer of a new type of space film, one that as I earlier stated, transcends above all the rest and achieves unimaginable heights.
Aside from the great screenplay and script, the acting is of the highest caliber. Matthew Mcconaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine and the rest of the stellar cast take this grand vision and scope to unfathomable heights with their prowess and depth. Hans Zimmer's score is haunting, dauntless and dramatic, forceful even in the greatest possible way. It was moving and wove itself effortlessly with Nolan's vision becoming the perfect accompaniment, second to none. The cinematography is breathtaking and mind altering, transporting.
This is a film that made me laugh, cry and rejoice. A true masterpiece unlike anything you will ever see.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
The best animated film since Toy Story 3 and that my friends is no exaggeration.
Dreamworks has made a film, finally, that matches the brilliant caliber of films Pixar normally creates. No this is not at the caliber of Bugs Life and Cars. Instead it is in the upper echelons with great animated art such as Up and Toy Story 3. In addition and THIS IS ESSENTIAL TO NOTE: The sequel far far far far exceeds the first film and then some. Yes, you heard me right this film is better, by leaps and bounds, than the first film.
While the first film has visual theatrics going for it and in fact was a good film, it relied way too heavily on potty humor and immaturity. The themes were a bit generic in the first film. Now that is not saying the first film was bad, i just found it forgettable.
HTTYD 2 is a gorgeous film, whose aesthetic beauty far exceeds that of the previous. The animation is of exceptional quality, realistic even. The artist for this film need to be commended for marvelous and stunningly beautiful animation quality they have created. The work, effort and determination shows. So very impressive.
Now theme wise this film is more darker, much much darker, and more emotional that the previous installment. It deals with some pretty solemn issues unlike the generic prequel. It is about finding ones self and realizing ones true destiny, responsibility in the face of heartbreak, the powerful bond of family, love and sacrifice. In addition this film deals with the connection we share with animals and themes of loss and grieving, love, relationship dynamics, war, hatred, peace and real life issues we see in today's world. Most importantly it deals with growth, growing up and maturing, transitioning and most of all it deals with life.
Themes alone do not a great film make. This film has story. Not just story but a deep and meaningful story that is much much darker and way more mature than the last film. It is beautiful and moving and delves deep into emotion and heartfelt depth. A soaring story about life and adventure and inner strength.
In terms of scale, this film is EPIC, perhaps even beyond. The people, and they are many, who have been involved in this film have done something that we rarely see and that my friends is taking a very unique and wonderful idea, the first film, and building what is a better and more powerful sequel in terms of animation, story, action, emotion, intelligence and depth. The sheer scale of this film is something to be compared to that of The Dark Knight Rises, The Lion King or The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. It soars to heights i never thought i'd see in a fantasy animated film. It reaches heights i wish Frozen had been able to reach. HTTYD 2 did not pander to the lowest denominator. It didn't need crassness to draw in the masses, it chose to be true to itself. An all round triumph and a film that all other animated films should aspire to. The gold standard for Dreamworks animation.
The scope matches the grand feel of all the great fantasy films and i cannot wait for the next film.
And the score? Even more epic. You need to hear it to believe it.
HTTYD 2 has replaced Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2 as my favorite Dreamworks animated feature.
Could this film win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film? Well i sure hope so, i found it much more fulfilling than The Lego movie, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Rio 2 and Legends of Oz, all the animated films this year and those of the last few years COMBINED. Yes The Lego Movie was inventive but it was missing something crucial, something How to Train Your Dragon 2 has in abundance.
EDIT: Watched it the third time and still as epic and gorgeous perhaps even more so.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Disappointing and a missed opportunity but still passable.
To begin, i loved X-Men: First Class and had high hopes for this one. I'll get it out there, i did not like Days of Future Past. I expected it to be mind-blowing, gritty and emotionally provocative after watching the trailers and reading about it on the web. I expected a collision of worlds, darkness and epic beauty. Instead i got a mediocre film. A great premise ruined by a lazy script and underdeveloped characters. In addition there was a lack of thrills, excitement and twists. The story felt pedestrian, a-been-there-and-seen-that situation if you will. And it was tied together way too neatly, too perfectly. The script doesn't get the most out of its characters and makes them feel bland. I mean the villain has poor motivations and is absolutely unnecessary. Peter Dinklage, who i think is awesome, is wasted in this movie. The Wolverine, who normally i love, is a place setting in this film. He is there but he doesn't do much though is seen throughout. It felt repetitive, too similar in content to everything we've come to expect from the X-Men. Nothing New. I was bored through a huge chunk of it.
As i said, the script gets too lazy trying to tie everything together in a perfect package and way too quickly with missed opportunities all through. At times it feels too sappy and cliché and at others where powerful dramatic moments are necessary they are not provided or feel rushed. Here was an opportunity to show a divided nation, propaganda, poisoning of minds from those who hate the mutants and a descending darkness, war and a world at a boiling point in addition to an emotional story, cataclysmic and yet filled with the hope, equality and good i.e everything the X-Men stand for. It was a missed opportunity. I was let down but the film still had its moments. The post credits scene was intriguing and despite this film not reaching my expectations, i cannot wait for X-Men Apocalypse.
This is not just an animated film, calling it so would be an unforgivable crime. This is art, this is heart and this is pure soul.
Calling Up an animated film would be a vile insult for Up transcends this common ordinary denomination to stand as a beacon of hope for Hollywood and film making in general. Pixar created a masterpiece of art, they created the definition of cinematic magic. Never has there been a more enchanting, a more fascinating, a more spellbinding animated feature than Up. As i said this is not animation, it is something much more special. Up feels like a Newbery or Carnegie medal winning children's book that comes alive and captures the imagination and soul but this time instead of doing so with text it happens to do so on the silver screen. It feels more like these timeless, enduring and unfading works of pure literary imagination than just being a movie. Movies pale in comparison to Up. Yes i am comparing this film to award winning, timeless, generation spanning and magical literature because comparing Up to other films would be a far more severe insult than calling it an animated film. Up has the magical enchantment only found in books. Up takes all these great qualities that only books have to an even more extraordinary level. Do you want to know what that is? Pure unadulterated emotion. Emotion so profound and philosophical, so startling and deep. Emotion like nothing i have ever seen in animated films nor in almost all of the live action fare that has ever been created for that matter. The humanity in Up slays me. Humanity that is devoid in box office blockbusters and especially lacking in pretentious and fake independent artsy fartsy critics award winning fare.
What exactly is Up? I shall tell you. It is whimsy and imagination, it is unlike anything you have ever seen or experienced before. Is that it? No it is also an emotional and heart breaking roller coaster of a ride about a man who was always socially withdrawn from boyhood. It is about a young boy whose spirit was brought out by a young, quirky, vivacious and beyond special young girl who had a zeal for life. A girl who was his soul-mate. I have never found it apropos to use the word 'soul-mate' in my life as it is too a powerful and misused word. Though it is the perfect definition for what Carl and Ellie were to each other. She was a young budding naturalist who had a sense of adventure and discovery in her, something she and Carl so amazingly shared. Carl fell in love with Ellie, married her and had a life that was so beautiful and fulfilling, a true love that is so human and pure unlike anything ever depicted in the movies. These days these Indie flicks and their sterile, pretentious portrayals of soulless and bitter relationships, showing them to be the reality and order of the day, have raped the meaning of love. They brainwash spurned youths and empower the cynical fake artsy fartsy crowd to spread their pretentiousness and lack of life. I'm sorry cynics but pure love exists and i feel sorry for all of you who have never experienced it. It took an animated film to portray real love. Through heartache and pain they trudged on and never let a second of life or love slip them by.
Up is about the loss of a loved one, coping in an ever changing world that is becoming cold and sterile by the second. It is about social isolation and losing ones reason to live. It painfully portrays the loss of hope, deftly portraying the excruciating heartache of loneliness while illustrating the poetic beauty of courage and strength. Sounds profound and beautiful for a kids film huh?! Well it is certainly that and even more. Up is about love's enduring promise, the fulfillment of a dream. It is about keeping your dearly departed close to your soul and holding on to your one and only reason for living, your true love and best friend. It is about honoring the departed and never losing ones zeal and passion for life. It is about love beyond the afterlife. It is about soul searching adventure unlike anything you have ever experienced, finding the purest of friendships, recognizing innocence and letting it flourish and being there for someone so pure and impressionable. It is about kindred spirits. It is about love and friendship finding a way to heal broken hearts. Most of all it is about letting go for memories of love will always persist. Material items may come and go but emotions endured will never die. Up is mesmeric and perspicacious. It is about laughter and life. It says never let sadness take you away from this vast adventure we call life, live and cherish every second. When one adventure ends, it is not the end for another will begin, a new chapter. Up is about love. Love that will never die, never end for it exists in the heart. An invincible and unconquerable love that will never be extinguished and will motivate and inspire with courage, hope and strength unlike any ever know. It is about the end and also about the beginning.
This film is everything i have said and countless other beautiful things that words cannot portray. Carl, Ellie, Russell and Dug feel like family and not just characters. Up concentrates on the personal, on different relationships, with different meanings but at the end it is all about love.
Pixar delved deep into the soul to create an awe inspiring masterpiece that has and will always move me, inspire me and warm my heart, stir my soul and emotions in the most beautiful and touching ways possible. Up is Pixar's greatest triumph, it is the greatest animated film of all time. Even the word 'great' feels like too small a word to describe Up. Up may very well be the greatest film of all time.
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Unbiddable, ungovernable passion and a riot of the heart. A love that overthrows life.
Shakespeare in Love is the film i adore the most and beyond countable measure. It is the single most enchanting, mesmerizing, poignant, passionate, breathtaking and awe inspiring film i have ever had the pleasure to see. I thank the person who suggested it all those years back for it is beauty personified. It's ingenuity and craftsmanship is beyond compare. It is the foremost representative reason of why people make movies and that is to tell stories. Not to tell run of the mill stories as 90% tend to be but instead to bewitch the audience with the most soulful, visionary, extraordinary and one of a kind stories. All those words pale in comparison to the glimmering light that is Shakespeare in Love and just like its heroine it is unbiddable, ungovernable passion. A riot of the heart.
The screenplay is inspiring, awe inspiring and then some. The creative genius, the artistry of it all is the fine definition of captivating. What ingenuity, what splendor, what originality and what celebration of passion and love. A true alluring gem to behold. It is a play within a play celebrating the works of the master playwright himself and most of all celebrating passion of yore. A tale of inspirational love that drives a man to create pure poetry in her name for she is the light and the sun.
This is by no means a common man's movie. It is commemoration of artistry, of playwriting and the celebration of language and its beauty, the sheer poetry of words. A true reverence of the works of Shakespeare, a marvelous homage to the lasting legacy of his works of art, for his plays are masterpieces, and to the mark of true romance and emotion they have left on so many lives. Everything from The Two Gentlemen of Verona to Macbeth, Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice to The Tempest are ingeniously referenced in the movie but most importantly of all the two most celebrated plays in the film are The Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet. The passionate scene of pure soul combining love where Shakespeare and his beloved Viola recite the powerful lines of Romeo and Juliet is the most entrancing, most hypnotizing, most beautiful scene i have witnessed in cinema. Those who have read and know the lines of Shakespeare's works will see how ingeniously they have been incorporated into the film. The passion and spellbinding beauty of the words are given even more powerful and heart stopping meaning for their origin as seen in the movie is a place of true enchantment. The magnitude of the words is intensified when spoken between Viola and William. Every word in his Romeo and Juliet comes from their story, the story of Viola and William and the depth amplified a thousand fold as a result. His words were how he captured his feelings on their sweeping passionate romance.
Gwyneth Paltrow is the most shimmering, the most priceless jewel in the treasure trove of magnificence we call Shakespeare in Love. She not only exudes pure radiance but she is its definition. Her incandescent glow and splendor, the unbridled spirit and vivaciousness, the vividness she brings to the breathtaking Viola de Lesseps is a thing to behold. Viola de Lesseps is passion and passion is her. She is the essence, the soul of this story for she is not only Viola but also Juliet and Romeo and Thomas Kent and every Shakespearean heroine. In a tale of a poignant fictional and fervent romance she is the muse, the gloriously triumphant muse of William Shakespeare. The inspiration of art, true art, the art we call literature and poetry. She breathes life into a man's life and is a revelation to a man without inspiration, without creative influence and she brings something into his life that he himself is shaken to the core by, true love. Her passion for life, for love and for literature and poetry cement her as the most captivating heroine i have seen on the silver screen. I was left in pure awe and even teared up for she is emotions of the most powerful caliber.
The rest of the cast are marvelous but it is Joseph Fiennes who takes excellence to another level and imbues life and soul into his character and creates a hero so lovable and one of a kind that you will be hanging on his every uttered line. The passion in William's eyes for Viola is so evident and in hers for him. Truly swoon worthy, explosive and breathtaking.
Judi Dench and Ben Affleck are hilarious. The humor of the film is charming, intelligent and relies on wit more than anything else. Geoffrey Rush, Tom Wilkinson, Martin Clunes, Imelda Staunton, Rupert Everett and Mark Williams are simply wonderful as are the rest of the cast.
The score is spectacular that is keeps you excited through this entire grand experience perfectly complimenting each each emotion, each scene it accompanies. It is so beautiful and evokes such grandeur. It can leave you in tears.
And that ending, what beauty and heart. Their parting words 'You will never age for me, nor fade, nor die' 'Nor you for me' were so startling and powerful. And when she tells him of how their love was the most greatest thing to her and she would have it no other way, WOW! Their confessions of true love and the ending where her courage, spirit and strength ensure a new beginning brought tears to my eyes.
This film is the best Shakespearean play that Shakespeare never wrote. It has all the elements one usually finds in his plays such as disguises, mistaken identities, romance and sword fights. A film for any intelligent person who appreciates the language and literature.
It won many Academy Awards and it deserved each and everyone especially for Gwyneth as Best Actress and for Best Picture and still deserved more.
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Pure enchantment and one of the most personal films i have ever had the pleasure of viewing
This is not just a film, it transcends the realm of regular film and moves into a masterclass of its own going above and beyond the ordinary. This is a film i have adored and cherished for a very long time and just now realized that i had not rated it. I was in a state of mortification and amended that error at once. This glimmering cinematic jewel needs to be seen by anyone who truly and sincerely loves the art form we call cinema.
The soul, the inventiveness, the beguiling charm, the cinematic artistry and wit of this masterpiece are light years ahead of nearly every film i have seen. It is the most personal film i have had the pleasure of viewing for the sheer fact that it is a film lovers movie and eloquently shows us why we love film, or should i say why i love film because i felt a connection so personal and profound. The escapist enchantment of film in a situation of true zaniness is captured here in The Purple Rose of Cairo. The fantasy, a fantasy many of us have had about film characters coming to life, the stark contrast of the charm and magic of the silver screen and the harsh cold reality so deftly portrayed. The hardships and three dimensions of life, the choices we make and their consequences, the acceptance/facing of reality and the hard truths and ironies this life presents form just some of the philosophical depth this breathtaking gem of cinema possesses. It goes above and beyond that by demonstrating that we are in charge of our destinies and sometimes all we will have is ourselves and no one will rescue us but ourselves. It gets satirical and comedic and strange and just becomes a pure pleasure to behold. The seamless coming together of comedy, sweeping romance, charm, fairy tale enchantment, bittersweet and sometimes sour truths and the pure celebration of the personal effect movies can have on people who are hurting exemplify the enchantment that such art, such film, can infuse into peoples lives. The masterful direction, the down trodden and heartbreaking heroine so perfectly and beautifully portrayed by the iconic Mia Farrow and the period setting together with this astounding screenplay make this film an event like no other.
A stunning and masterfully directed space drama-thriller.
I would place Gravity up in the echelons of other space films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Wall-E. I felt gripped from the start and in my opinion, that is one major criteria of excellent cinema.
It is beautifully rendered. The visuals are beyond stunning and the 3D is brilliantly executed. So very many films have been utilizing 3D which adds no value to the movie and are completely third rate. This film utilizes the extra dimension in the best way possible, to give the viewer the best possible experience. The beautifully crafted film employs visuals that will leave the viewer stunned, mystified and in awe. To prevent spoiling the film, all i shall say is the visual scenes are grand and brilliant in every way. Cinematography at its finest.
However, great visuals only do not a great work of art make. The visual thrills are one of the many sensational aspects in the film. The directing is spot on, masterfully rendered. Visionary if i may say so. The audience is made to feel part of the experience, captured and drawn in as if at that place in time and seeing through the eyes of the characters. The intermingling of a great score and tenderly directed scenes that capture every moment, every emotion and every tiny speck of humanity making this a triumph.
A brilliantly thought up story. One would think the story line is redundant and overdone. Others would question the depth of a story such as this. To these people i implore 'WATCH THE MOVIE!'. A story so simple and yet so intense. One which brings together the elements of a great thriller, with surprises at every turn and elements of great drama, a story that taps into the deepest emotions and into the psyche of these characters dissecting their every thought and action. It is a story of hope, courage and strength from the darkest abyss, despair, loss the power of laughter in extreme deadly situations and the power of fear and what it drives us to. It is a story of personal growth and personal development. A true survival tale in the harshest of environments and what keeps us alive. The psychology is explored and its role in life and the pursuit of survival.
It is the emotional quotient that drives this film, the masterful direction and masterclass acting by Bullock and Clooney. The sheer craftsmanship of this film by its director and stellar cast make this film excellent in every way. Bullock and Clooney are artists, they bring to life, create these personalities and characters who will leave you in awe.
I shall certainly watch it again. And despite the idiot who kept kicking my seat every 2 minutes, even that did not deter my attention. This is a great film. Word of advice: Please do not take little children to this film. I had 2 children sitting a few rows down who were so restless and kept talking the whole way through until a woman stood up to reprimand the parents. The parents received many more complaints.
The English Patient (1996)
An epic tale of doomed love and tragedy across the dunes. A masterpiece.
I re-watched The English Patient after a year and no wonder it is one of my favorite films of all time. An epic tale of tragic, doomed love taking place across the gorgeous setting of the Saharan dunes.
Magnificently rendered in every aspect from great characterization and brilliant powerful acting to beautiful, gorgeous cinematography and a love story that is mesmerizing and heart breaking. A true romance, a classic romance.
There are no words to describe this romantic epic except 'YOU NEED TO SEE IT FOR YOURSELF'.
I shall try describing it to the best of my ability but there is simply no way to describe this grand scale soulful love story. Words escape me and that rarely is the case. That is how great this film is. No wonder it swept the Oscars in 1997(film released in 1996).
The acting is superior in every aspect. Unbeatable. Ralph Fiennes is brilliant as always. Kristin Scott Thomas, sensational, beautiful and magnificent and so so emotional in the best ways possible. Juliette Binoche beautiful emotion, powerful and soulful. The supporting cast is perfect as well. You feel the emotions of the lead trio and are taken aback by their sheer prowess and perfection.
The story is a sweeping romance so greatly rendered and so heart breaking and touching. Tear inducing and so emotion filled especially at it's shattering and powerful climax. Against the backdrop of the World War II, archeology and cartography, through Egypt and the beautiful Sahara and gorgeous Italy. Absorbing from the get go and so perfectly timed. Sad, beautiful, gripping, sensational, grand, magnificent and awe inspiring. Those adjectives best describe this masterpiece and more.
Usually people who hate this film are either anti-romantics, people who hate a film that is capturing each second with emotion and so lovingly and longingly. This to some people will mean the film is slow though to me it is a gripping classic romance. Others say this film is to picturesque to be real. Not true. Those people are those who lack imagination or who is not well traveled. These people need spoon feeding and directness. Those are people who cannot savor grand passion so soulfully woven and capitalizing each second with romantic wonder. Some macho d-bags will no appreciate it since it will cripple their manhood and others who lack soul and heart and are empty inside will not see the emotional explosion and heartfelt powerhouse film that this picture is. These people are few and far between though. Most adore this film and for good reason. Critics went gaga over this film and i never agree with critics half the time though in this case they were spot on. What a PERFECT feat. If you love romance and are sick of the new age vampire romance bullshit and yearn for classic romance then this is the film for you.
I've tried not to put any spoilers though one or two may have found themselves in.
Chennai Express (2013)
A love letter to SRK fans and then some. Fun and engaging in every way.
Of course being an SRK fan, a huge fan, i had to see Chennai Express which i have been enthusiastically awaiting since first hearing of it. And let me just say what a great ode to SRK's past films it was. Those references add fantastic nostalgic humor to the already good humor of this fun filled adventure. A hilarious journey about a man unwillingly dragged along for the adventure of his lifetime. And what an adventure it was. Perhaps not the best SRK film and perhaps not the best film of the year, still it is entertaining and that is what counts.
Let us just get this out of the way, this is not award season cinema. This film however is pure through and through entertainment for everyone in the family whether they be SRK fans, comedy lovers, adventure enthusiasts, wholesome family entertainment lovers, crazy stunts and action buffs or drama and emotion aficionados. Throw in some pretty wholesome life messages and a fun filled musical journey and you get Chennai Express.
As expected with Bollywood, you get color, loads of color. Colorful costumes, colorful backdrops, colorful personalities. In addition to great scenic views and a cultural journey through the beautiful south of India. I love that this film depicted culture of the south, traditions, architecture and wonder. Breathtaking in all cinematographic aspects.
The music is fun and pumping though few in number. I love Titli and the title song most but the wonderfully choreographed 1234 get on the dance floor is absolutely energy packed. The score is excellent and adds to the amazing dramatic value. See the last scene.
Good comedic performance with touches of great drama from the evergreen and ever awesome SRK. Deepika was was superb and a sensation to behold. The supporting cast was just as amazing. Add to this the great sensational chemistry between the two leads and you get everything you wanted in a blockbuster. Though the humor does get trying and forced at times.
The romance is fun but feels rushed.
Props to Mr Shetty for a wonderfully well directed film that was the perfect entertainer.
What truly makes a great film experience in my opinion is a movie that elicits a wide range of emotions and never leaves you bored even for a single second. This film did just that for me. I smiled through the entire film, laughed my heart out and even shed tears. It really is one of those films that will have you at the edge of your seat, make you laugh, make you cry and perhaps even make you fall in love. :D I never noticed the time fly. A fun adventure that really has heart and speaks about a lot of important life lessons for those who paid attention. It is not a mindless masala action flick but it certainly is masala.
A deep, thoughtful and exciting experience
2012 was an amazing year for animation. I absolutely loved Wreck-it- Ralph, Brave, Hotel Transylvania, Frankenweenie, Rise of the Guardians and even the not so loved Ice Age 4. ParaNorman is another fantastic film in the 2012 animation category. I'd rank it my 3rd favorite from the 2012 animation list.
This film came at a time when zombies are at their most popular in TV and cinema. However this film takes a zombie story and gives it a great twist and depth in its storytelling with meaningful and heartbreaking themes applicable in today's society. It has some pretty resonating messages about understanding, ignorance, bullying, bigotry, friendship and family and love. The anti-bullying messages are great and hopefully will register with our youth. All these messages are interspersed in a very much original story with sweetness and humor.
Though at times the humor does get a bit PG and higher. So parental guidance is advised. It is a very mature story. Mature in that the humor can get a bit non-kid friendly with references to sex and to an adult film store, the F word and some more. So in this regard parental guidance is suggested but for teen and adult viewing, it is a fantastic film with perfect blend of storytelling, great messages, emotions and humor.
The film is very different from what we've seen and yet so familiar, i say that in a very good way. Essentially it has few minor elements of Ghost Whisperer, Scooby Doo on Zombie Island, Scooby Doo and the Witchs's Ghost, The Sixth Sense and more Scooby Doo and merges them into one but in addition it adds a lot and i mean a lot more to make quite an original story. See the mentioned films above and you will notice elements reminiscent of in this film. This film also is very witty with a lot of ironies and it parodies stereotypes in modern society which add to its humor. There were also references to some films of the horror genre of which i am not a fan but still caught a few.
The stop motion animation is very well done and is very lovely. The stop motion is excellent, colorful and has a large degree of detail.
Some people say it has dark themes, well personally if you watched Hocus Pocus as a kid and loved it, then you are sure to love this one since they have a lot of similarities.
Despicable Me 2 (2013)
Riotously hilarious, sugary sweet, absolutely adorable and most of all marvelously miniontastic!
I saw Despicable Me 2 in the cinema and when i left i did not like it all that much. If i do not take to a film on the first watch then i am unlikely to change my opinion on subsequent views. This film is one of the rare exceptions. I have many 'perhaps' reasons of not liking it the first time from spoilers to mood changes. Well that in neither here nor there. I decided to see it just to pass time after a strenuous day at college followed by work. And i was blown away. Then i saw it again yesterday and it was even better.
It has its goal set out from the very start. It is family entertainment in and out. And great family entertainment.
It is contemporary ingenuity coupled with zany cartoony fantasy to produce a feature that is so much fun and so exciting. It is the first animated feature in a long time to move away from serious or emotion filled animation and instead aim for the imaginative wild completely unrealistic feel and fun of the cartoons of yore. That is a great thing as it feels like something new and in this case new is awesome. I adore emotion filled animation but sometimes you just need to smile and laugh and laugh some more with crazy comedic toon antics and this film provides that. The animation is so colorful and delightful, so pleasing to the eye in its adorableness.
Whoever imagined the minions needs to be awarded a medal. They are the most adorable, most cute, most sweet, most pure laugh and smile inducing creations to grace animation in a long time. They made me laugh out wildly and smile all through the film until my cheeks were hurting and i felt like bursting with pure happiness. They are just fun and amazing. Oh and they sing too, hilariously.
The films posters said as their tagline "The Spy who Lover Her'. An obvious reference to the James Bond flick, The Spy Who Loved Me. So obviously espionage and spy craziness is thrown in for a satisfying story. A story that in fact feels like an updated cartoon version of an exaggerated James Bond film of the the 70's and 80's.
Gru really is an amazing father and his relationship with the girls is something very precious. I like how family dynamic is explored in this film. Rarely do we have films of adopted children coming into a new family dynamic. The last time i saw that type of dynamic was in Tarzan in 1999 before seeing it once more in the prequel to this film. The girls are just great in this film. Agnes who is just so adorable wishes for a mother and Gru sees that and he can see it is saddening her. Gru is also lonely and goes out into the dating world resulting in hilarious consequences and sweet surprises.
Agent Lucy Wilde, nice pun since she is a huge dose of wild fun, is just a great character addition that adds to the looniness and excitement of it all. She is so weird in the best way possible, quirky, funny and absolutely amazing. She is a remarkable character. And her vivid personality just adds to the sweetness and captivating charm of this film. Thus she provides the perfect romantic lead for Gru.
Pharell Williams needs applause for the music. The songs are just so upbeat and fun and in the distinct style of Mr Williams. They are just so warm and the animated sequences accompanying them are just marvelous, fun and dream like. Adding to the smiles galore of the film.
It is a film for the family and the hilarious humor is divided into slapstick hilarity that adults too will thoroughly love, some jokes that will go over kids heads and some really sensational references mostly aimed at adults such as The Spy Who Loved Me and many more including other James Bond references and references to Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, The Incredibles, Get Smart as well as The Matrix and Superman among others.
I feel this film will become what the film Up is to me. A film so sweet, so heartwarming and imaginative and so smile inducing that it will just keep getting more amazing with further views as the years go by and become an absolute all time favorite.
I like that they mix humor with sweet awkward and adorable romance. Then they stir in the Minion Factor of pure awesomeness. Toss in great gags and action packed and imaginative excitement. Sprinkle some sweetness and finally folding in a dollop of fun. A very fun movie for everyone.
Monsters University (2013)
Once again a pretty solid effort from Pixar. Great job.
Pixar is the source of some of the most deep, thoughtful and meaningful CG films and have created a great name for themselves. Personally i love most of their films. I almost joined the naysayers prior to this films release before reminding myself that Pixar has never really let ME down. And as expected excellence reigned supreme. This is in my opinion a really good film. Perhaps not at the level of Up and Wall-E, but it is certainly not bad either.
Animation: A+ The animation is fantastic, then again what else can be expected from Pixar. Top quality CG that is detailed and yet so brilliantly original. Sully and Mike look fantastic as do all the other characters. And if you see the detail of the university, Mike's room and many other portions such as that in the human world, you will be flabbergasted by how amazing it looks. The cuteness of the characters is an added bonus. Pixar is one of those rare studios that pay the greatest attention to surroundings as well as every other aspect, making you want to take notice of everything from posters in the dorm, headlines in newspapers and the sheer workmanship of the great environments whether they are the university, the living room, the bedroom or any other setting.
Story: B+. OK i agree there were parts that had resemblance to Revenge of the Nerds and Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire and it got quite to close to situations in college movies of years past. Though the originality of the scare games and what they signify to Mike is really quite sweet and pretty original if you think about it. I like the youthful characters of Mike and Sully but the change in personality is way too drastic when comparing to how they turn out in Monsters Inc. Also they at some points feel like characters from similar movies and this tends to make the film feel tired. So it is best not to make comparisons if you want to have a good time.
You don't get your usual ending and the pretty true-to-life messages elevate it from being just ordinary. The reality of their situation and the hard life lessons that are thrust upon them give a picture of the pitfalls life gives us in real life and the effect it has on character. These are just some of the major, resounding themes. And yet even through it the positivity and depth still resonates. You will no doubt smile all through and have several genuine laugh out loud moments that add to this pretty great emotional mix.
Yes a college comedy does not need to be PG or R rated to be funny and this one succeeds in triumphing over other college movies. And as someone who understands and has been through what Mike's character faces in this movie, that added extra resonance and heart. A twist on the similar films, heart(as with all Pixar), depth, resounding mature themes, life as we know it, witty humor and smiles galore, what more could you ask for? There are some minor continuity errors between the prequel and the original but those are minor and the story more than makes up for it. All in all a good effort. Monsters Inc is a great film, and one of the absolute best from Pixar. Monsters U may not be at its level but it nevertheless a very good film.
Music: A. The score is good, really good. Though i felt so much similarity between it and the Toy Story trilogy as well as The Princess and the Frog. Then again they too were works by Randy Newman and those scores were great too. Perhaps it is just me but i also noted similar music to Up in this awesome film.
Overall: A great film that can be seen as a family, a group of friends or individually. A film that will be appreciated especially by college student. Pixar once again does a good job.
As a small note, look out for great references to Monsters Inc. It will add to the smiles.
The Croods (2013)
I actually loved the trailers and couldn't wait to see this movie. Though in the past many trailers have been top notch but the movie just didn't match up. Well in the case of the Croods, the trailers were nice but the movie was just a great, brilliant and amazing feat.
The animation quality is brilliant, excellent animation that is enchanting and magical. The story very moving and heartfelt and had some really emotional and moving scenes handled very intelligently. The characters are endearing and you just can't help but love them all, absolutely lovable. This action packed adventure is just an epic and thrilling ride GUARANTEED to keep you (child and adult) at the edge of your seat. Breathtaking visuals and heart racing scenes. An adventure of a lifetime is all i can say. Spectacular and fun. The entire family dynamic of The Croods is so amazingly portrayed and extremely ratable. With educational snippets guaranteed to get kids interested in topics such as plate tectonics and continental shift and drift etc. And many heartwarming and yet smartly handled lessons to be learned along the way. What a great film.
Now for the humor. It is brilliant, smart humor that will have you in stitches. I have not laughed that hard in a long long time. I laughed until i cried and no i am not exaggerating. The entire theater was in stitches booming with laughter. It was just great fun. The child in the row ahead of me commented to his mother how he was loving this amazing movie to which his mother replied that she too thought it was awesome! The college kids who came as a group were in hysterics and seemed to enjoy this movie just as much. Even a grandmother who sat next to me couldn't control herself and was enjoying this great family film with the rest of us. To put it plainly, the whole family will love it. It is the perfect family movie: smart, hilarious, sweet and emotional. And whats great is you will enjoy it even if you go on your own. So many individuals came to watch it on their own and they enjoyed it as much as the families did. Usually many comedy movies will have a chuckle here and there but this one had myself and the rest of the audience in fits of uncontrollable laughter from start till finish. One of those films where time just flies by and since you are thoroughly enjoying yourself, you just don't notice the time pass.
GREAT WORK DREAMWORKS! They really are stepping it up as of late. ROTG was fantastic and now this film is carrying on the trend of brilliant animated films. Looking forward Dreamworks Studios next endeavor and if this film is anything to go by, i see many more great films ahead from this studio.
Though if you are dumbed down and go for films which are historically accurate because you are too lazy to do the research on your own or have no imagination and are incapable of appreciating great fiction, well you can skip it.
Brother Bear (2003)
A great masterpiece of a film
I have learned that sometimes critics have their heads up their a**es and their prejudice, arrogance and jaded perspectives make them disregard anything with pure heart and emotion and love, praise and adore mindless fart humor and depravity. If you are one of those people who loves what critics say and can't form your own opinion, you'll probably have a preconceived opinion of this movie so disregard my review. Also if you hate stories that teach and educate and make you inspire to be a better person, disregard the rest of this review.
This film is a breathtaking, emotional roller coaster of intellect,wit, pure heart and moral. It takes you on an astonishing journey filled with soul. It is visual eye-candy, epic and breathtaking. The vividness of the colors and brush strokes actually takes you on a magical enchanting journey and leaves you awestruck with its beauty. So yeah the animation is AMAZING!
The voicing by the actors is so fitting and they do a marvelous job. Effortlessly so if i may add.
The music is pretty amazing and in fact adds to the amazement of the story. It carries the emotion of the story. Most people listen to the instrumentals instead of the words. Try listening to the words and they will carry you on an immensely emotional and feeling ride. The words add to the story and the characters thoughts. Wonderful. Not particularly the best ever in terms of instrumentals, but the words and their meaning make up for this ten-fold. The transformation song and "On My Way" were a particular delight.
Now to the story which i feel is the most important thing: It is firstly educational and takes a more cultural turn by taking you through the mythology of the Inuits and way of life. It is a different time and culture and it is both awe-inducing and educating. Not for people who prefer films like Shrek or Simpsons. Now the emotional depth of this film can make you weep throughout as it showcases love, arrogance, prejudice, intolerance, tolerance, pain, death, family, darkness and finally light. It transcends above nearly all films in terms of emotions and heart. It is heart-breaking and tear inducing as it showcases human cruelty and arrogance. A subject people will really dislike or feel in denial about. It showcases pain and heartache like no animation does these days since people prefer the superficial. It shows the themes that are present today such as intolerance, arrogance and sheer heartlessness. And finally it shows a journey of education not only in terms of cultural differences but learning that intolerance and preconceived notions are imbecilic, it is about responsibility, it teaches the importance of stepping into another's shoes and feeling what they feel as well as learning the power of love. It is very intelligent so very few will get or be able to understand and appreciate its messages. And plus if you hate emotion, education and being taught valuable life lessons or feel you are too superior for them, you will not like this movie. Otherwise if you are intelligent and have a heart, you will adore it as i have.
Definitely one of my favorite animated films and i've seen over 200. Actually it is one of my favorite films period, not just from the animated ones. A masterpiece and i know i will get hate for saying this but it is the truth, this movie is way better than several Pixar films which are good visuals but superficial story lines that don't capture heart, horrors of the world and emotion as Disney films of the past do. I said several Pixar films and not all. Up, Wall-E and Monsters Inc are masterpieces and Brother Bear is in their league of excellence. Though it is way way way more magical and beautiful than the Toy Story Trilogy, Brave, The Incredibles, Cars and Finding Nemo. I have watched this film every year since i was a kid when it released and it has still not lost its magic and that is the true mark of a pure classic, one that will never lose its charm.
The Lorax (2012)
An enjoyable and touching film
Allow me to start out by saying that this film is by no means a masterpiece in animation. Though what it lacks in animated finesse, it more than makes up for in character depth, storyline and moral. People will always say and i quote "it is forcing us to protect the environment and enforcing an opinion on us, one we don't wish to have". Others claim and once again i quote "It is brainwashing our kids minds". Those are quite arrogant and backward stances to take in my opinion. These days anything with heart and educational content and a moral that is important is considered a brainwashing tactic by Hollywood. And violence and depravity is considered ground breaking in cinema. Well everyone is entitled to an opinion i guess.
This film showcases real issues in a fictional but effective way. Greed, corruption, mindless following of authority figures, capitalism, environmental decay and degradation and its effect on wildlife and people too jaded to realize what is going on. The hard hitting truth. An attempt to awaken and educate a new generation but with fun and a beautifully told, very exciting story.
Now back to the film. If you have a preconceived prejudiced opinion or if you don't believe in environmental conservation and educating the kids who are the next generation then you probably won't enjoy it. If moral messages in film make you feel opinions are being shoved down your throat, it is not for you. However if you enjoy good fun animation, great songs, a good moral and a touching story that in the end may just have you in tears then i suggest you try it out. It is very worthwhile.
These days it is great to see educational and powerful messages being put into animated films since movies are the prime source of entertainment. It is a great way to get messages, educational and moral, out there since now reading books is even becoming a thing of the past among most youth. As i said: THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. And all in all is a fun film, that is meant to teach our kids, the next generation, that it starts with you. It has a grave and very factual message that some will not appreciate.
The cast and voice acting is wonderful. Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Betty White, Ed Helms, Jenny Slate and Rob Riggle were really great in their respective voiced roles. The animation is really vivid and feels like an explosive burst of color. Very imaginative. Fun songs too. When i saw it in the cinema months ago, the girl next to me was even singing along. I think this was her second watch. I especially liked how the towns folk would always join in like a flashmob, singing and dancing. As i have said, great message and the last scene may have you tearing up. Fun, action packed, thrilling, great music and a great story. A 10/10 in my books. Though many shall disagree as it is certainly not for everyone.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
A cinematic masterpiece
What a film! Rarely does one call a superhero flick a cinematic work of art. Well this one certainly is that and much more. It isn't a run-of-the-mill popcorn, action packed, story-less offering that many superhero films are. This one goes above and beyond. It is less about the masked man and more about the man behind the mask, a broken man fighting his own demons. A dark and emotional tale of absolution and revenge, strength and sacrifice. Anne Hathaway is brilliant as Catwoman. Its no wonder she is receiving nominations for her role in this movie and in Les Miserables. Bane i think is the highlight of this movie. His speech may go down in dialogue history. You feel mesmerized and taken aback by the sheer force of this movie. It has everything from the deepest darkest emotions to powerful confrontation scenes and a breathtaking climax. I had no idea so much time had gone by, that is how gripping this film is. Though if you prefer more violence and action, then this may not be for you. Personal opinion: It is the best film of 2012. A must see as it raises the bar for not only superhero flicks but also films in general.
Rise of the Guardians (2012)
A breathtaking and magical work of art
WOW! What a spectacular piece of cinematic art. Great characters, an extremely touching and emotional storyline and breathtaking animation. That basically sums this epic adventure up. It is something kids and adults of all ages are likely to enjoy. It takes you back to your childhood when you believed, the age of innocence. This film manages to stir up very many emotions and tugs at your heartstrings. Its simple and yet beautiful messages really made this a fantastic film. The animation was very stunning, very well executed. Kudos go to Dreamworks Studios for this outstanding film. If such high caliber films are to be expected from Dreamworks in the future, then all i can say is that Pixar had better look out. The lead character, Jack Frost, his journey and internal struggles, depth and personality really made him an outstanding lead. And the action packed Avengersesque scenes were marvelous. The movie had many of us in the cinema, self included, in tears at various parts and bursting with laughter at others. All in all, an enchanting animation that as another reviewer said "is a great film destined to become a classic".