Category: Movie Review

‘Kong’ Gets Bigger And Better


By Meetali Kutty 

Title: Kong Skull Island

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Actors: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, Samuel L. Jackson

 It seems director Jordan Vogt-Roberts was correct when he said that his version of the Kong tale would be unlike its predecessors. This well-known story, about a gigantic ape, living on Skull Island, has been given a fresh treatment and the result is a fast paced, humorous tale that sets up the future planned Kong Vs Godzilla film.

This film is set in 1973, with America just withdrawing from Vietnam post the war. A military escort (Samuel L. Jackson),still upset at the outcome of the Vietnam War, sets off for the island with a war photographer (Brie Larson), scientists (Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman) and some soldiers to explore this unchartered territory. John Goodman’s character, Bill Randa, is a conspiracy theorist who secures funding for a fact finding mission to the island.
Luckily for the viewers, it isn’t long before they encounter King Kong (larger than ever before!) who swats at planes and lays waste to many humans. However, this giant ape isn’t the ferocious human enemy some of the explorers think he is. In fact, the island is full of fearsome creatures (and amazing effects!) like super large spiders, wooly mammoths and the Skull Crawlers, who pose an equal (if not larger) threat.
The star of the film is John C. Reilly’s character, Hank Marlow, an American soldier, who, in the prologue, was shown crash landing on the island. He has been stranded there for 30 years. Reilly’s character embodies the comedic center of the film, and has some truly rip roaring one-liners which audiences will enjoy. Tom Hiddleston is good as the dashing leading man, while BrieLarson isn’t given much to do. Thankfully the love angle is done away with, only finding some nostalgia when Kong takes a liking to her. In fact, the fleshing out of the characters in the film is sacrificed for the more exciting action sequences involving King Kong. There are also a number of side plots which tend to deviate focus from the main attraction- Kong.
This film is full of dazzling special effects. The action is rapid, with a few sad deaths of certain characters. This film also plays out as a deeper exploration on war, as well as environmental preservation and kindness as a weapon combating hatred. The breathtaking visuals will immerse the viewer and immediately grab their attention. There is a wonderful scene which showcases the arrival at Skull Island with all the helicopters swooping into formation, which is sure to draw a few gasps.
The climactic showdown between Kong and the reptile like Skull Crawlers is a riveting, if slightly long battle, that will make action fans rejoice. However, it is humans who are the true threat with their bombs disturbing the ecosystem of the island and making these Skull Crawlers rise up, and with one set of the explorers deeming Kong the enemy.
All in all, this film is a perfect set up for summer blockbusters- action packed, entertaining and a great way to spend an afternoon. A departure from past King Kong films (even excluding a visit to New York City), this refreshing new take on the tale is bigger and better. Be sure to stay in your seats for an exciting post-credits scene that will set up future monster movies.
Ratings: ***

https://youtu.be/44LdLqgOpjo

‘Logan’: The Perfect Swan Song To Wolverine Series


By Meetali Kutty 

Film: Logan

Director: James Mangold

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Richard E.Grant

Genre: Superhero, Action

The final chapter in Wolverine’s story is a befitting swan song for a character that has helped popularize the comic book movie genre immensily, thanks in no small part to the way the role has grown in the hands of the very capable Hugh Jackman. The first comic book film of the year has set a very high standard for the rest to follow, and indeed is a pitch perfect way to end the story of a character we have grown up watching and feeling for. 
Much grittier and grown up than previous outings for the X-men franchise, this R-rated film has plenty to keep viewers riveted- amazing action sequences where every punch, kick or slice feels well thought out, enough dark humour laced with profanity, (with Patrick Stewart also filming his role as Professor X for the last time, and showcasing a foul mouth we haven’t seen on him before) and of course, very real stakes that pack a huge emotional wallop. 

Set in 2029, the future is bleak with stark landscapes dominating the screen. Mutants have been almost all wiped out, and we are introduced to Wolverine, who is going by Logan, a broken down version of the character we have seen at his fiercest in previous instalments. He has taken to drinking with a vengeance, his health is slowly failing him, and thoughts of dying plague him. He spends his days driving customers in his limo, and looks after Professor Xavier, whose mental facilities are failing as well. Professor Xavier is a fragile version of the empowered leader we are used to seeing, and has to be kept sedated to prevent him from harming those around him. Wolverine is aided in this by the mutant, Caliban (Stephen Merchant). 

However , Wolverine’s plans at retirement are put to a halt when he encounters a young mutant girl, Laura (X-23, as fans of the comic book series may be familiar with), who shares Wolverine’s healing factors and has her own set of claws. She is being targeted by mutant bounty hunters, led by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), head of a group known as the Reavers. Wolverine has to set aside his plans and help the girl, fighting a very unlikely opponent (we won’t spoil it for you), in less than ideal physical conditions.

This film is a much more mature take on the genre, more in keeping with The Dark Knight than with other X-men films. There are plenty of heart wrenching moments so be prepared to shed a few tears, but the story never falters and keeps you hooked from beginning to end. This is a fitting tribute to the character of Wolverine, and a high way for this legend to go out on. 

Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keen all showcase their acting chops, especially Jackman who showcases raw emotions and a side of the character that is far more human then we are used to. The heart of the movie is the father-son dynamic between Professor X and Wolverine, and the latter’s reluctant paternal role with the young Laura. The movie focuses on the story and on the action elements, eliminating unnecessary side plots and useless love angles, giving viewers the Wolverine story they’ve always wanted. The action sequences are gory and brutal, and one of the highlights is watching X-23 show off her own fighting skills. James Mangold provides a masterful ending to Logan’s emotional journey, and proves that he is the comic book film director to beat. One has to bow their heads to Jackman’s Wolverine who has truly gone out in a blaze of glory.

Verdict:****

Movie Review : ‘Skyfall’ (**** Four Star)

(By Akshat Sharma) As the world celebrates the Golden Jubilee year of ‘James Bond’, Oscar winning director Sam Mendes gives a delightful cinematic treat to all Bond fans with his first ever 007 flick, ‘Skyfall’.  This is the third film featuring Daniel Craig as Bond after ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Quantum of Solace’ and probably one of the best Bond films ever made.

‘Skyfall’ is James Bond’s (played by Daniel Craig) journey towards his roots. A Bond who is matured and humane, so much so that he doesn’t mind getting overpowered by his emotions while holding M’s ( played by Judi Dench) dead body.

Like all Bond films ‘Skyfall’ too opens with a bang. It is one long chase scene on the streets of Istanbul where Bond is shown chasing a bad guy who has stolen a list that MI6 is desperate to get at any cost.  Even if costs James Bond M is willing to pay the price.

The story takes a turn when the MI 6 headquarters in London is bombed and the internal security system is breached. It forces M to press Bond into action although his Istanbul encounter has rendered him unfit for the field duty.

Bond is dispatched to Shanghai and there he gets some vital clues about the attack. In China he meets two characters, one of them is Sevriene (played by Bernice Marlohe) and the other one is Silva (Javier Bardem), the villain. Silva is an interesting character who has a funny streak in him. Like the Joker of ‘Batman Returns’ Silva looks deadly with his subtle mannerism and style.

Silva holds personal grudges against M as he is also a former agent who has worked with MI 6 during his prime. Locked in direct confrontation with M and James Bond, Silva leaves no stone unturned to seek revenge. In the process only Bond survives as M and Silva both get killed in gruesome encounter set in picturesque Scotland.

Daniel Craig as James Bond is considered as the darkest and the most unique Bond in many ways. Never before in history any Bond film has decoded and demystified Bond the way ‘Skyfall’ has done. You see him like a real person who has no pretensions of being a ‘Bond’. He still likes women but he is not a womaniser. He goes for the kill but he also cries when someone near and dear dies.

He has also become minimalist in many ways with this film. He doesn’t use fancy modern cars, hi-tech gadgets or pull of those unbelievable stunts which only he could. Daniel Craig in ‘Skyfall’ will go down in the history of Bond films as one of the most vulnerable and real James Bond.

The film will also be remembered for depicting a deeper relationship between Bond and his boss M. Judy Dench has already announced that this is the last Bond film of her career and ‘Skyfall’ gives a glowing tribute to her illustrious career in Bond films.

Javier Bardem is the most talked about actor in the movie for his role as he takes Bond villains to an iconic level. Director Mendes has pitted a villain who can give some serious competition to James Bond with his menacing acts and misdemeanor.

‘Skyfall’ also deserves special mention for splendid camerawork by ace cinematographer Roger Deakins. His camera follows James Bond’s journey all the way from Istanbul, London, Shanghai, Macau and back to the mystique countryside of Scotland using shadows and images with equal finesse.

For music lovers ‘Skyfall’ has an added attraction of the theme song by Grammy award winner Adele. Background score of the film is also commendable. If you have heard about the name James Bond and even if you remotely admire the character, ‘Skyfall’ is definitely a must watch.

Movie Review : ‘Ice Age 4’ (***Three Star)

What do you do when a film franchise has run its course to such an extent that there’s no way forward? Simple. You take elements from popular films, try to make the story about something ‘familial’ and make one more film trying to inject life into the dead franchise even at the risk of drifting all the way into mediocrity and cliches.

This exactly seems to be the formula for the “Ice Age” franchise with the latest part generously taking elements from other popular films even as it seems to forget the fun, emotionality or even the ingenuity of the original.

In the end of the Paleozoic era, the supercontinent Pangaea had begun breaking apart due to the acorn hunting habit of Scrat. Caught in the middle is the ‘herd’ of Manny and his family, Diego and Sid. As Sid is united with his crotchety grandmother, Manny separates from his wife and daughter.

Drifting on an iceberg, the trio and the grandmother are captured by a pirate captain. As they escape, a crazy and funny chase ensues.

“Ice Age 4” suffers from ambition – the ambition to exist. After two previous forgettable installations, the franchise should have come to an end. Sadly, the studio decided to give it one more run. Though they try their best, it isn’t enough and the film drifts towards mediocrity and cliche ending on a whimper one was expecting all along.

The film puts together the usual theme of catastrophic global events and weaves together a lot of nice gags with the best and funniest being reserved for the exploits of our beloved Scrat. Though on their own the gags are funny, the problem is in the attempt to weave them into one coherent whole. In the absence of any real story, the film falls flat on its face.

The film tries to redeem itself with the introduction of a goofy bunch of characters, led by a pirate chimp. But this ‘hairy’ spoof from “The Pirates of The Caribbean” series isn’t enough to raise it high enough, despite introducing a love interest for Diego.

All in all, lot of precious funds were wasted in a film that need not have been made in the first place. Diehard fans, however, will love reliving the antics of their favourite characters. (IANS)

 

 

Movie Review : ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (****Four Star)

(By Akshat Sharma) With ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy comes to an end. The kind of attention and anticipation this movie has generated all over the world is unprecedented. So much so that when certain sections of the media called the movie disappointing there was a counter-wave to prove the critics wrong.

The movie has all necessary ingredients. It boasts of amazing performances from the main actors, stunning action sequences and the enigma of a superhero movie fires your imagination.  It is the length of the movie which is a bit unnerving. It takes too much time to reach the climax but this shortcoming has been addressed by an exemplary ending.

Batman series have been very successful franchisee earning billions for its makers. Success of superhero movies is dependent on the emotional connect between the hero and his audience. Since Batman is a mythical superhero in the true sense of the word the culmination of Batman saga becomes an emotional affair.

The Dark Knight Rises opens with a scene where a powerful bomb has been planted and before the panic spreads the Batman makes a heroic entry and hundreds of people breathe a sigh of relief. Like any other superhero movie this movie also is an engagement of good versus evil. The struggle between both the forces continues till the closing credits. The scenes which narrate this strife are brilliantly captured. Each frame of the movie speaks volumes about Nolan’s acumen to tell a story. No wonder he had claimed that it was the greatest story ever told by him.

Anne Hathaway and Christian Bale look good on screen and they share some the most interesting moments on screen. Bale has done well in both the roles but the real stars in the movie are Michael Caine as Alfred and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Gotham City police-officer John Blake.

Director Christopher Nolan presents Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. In Batman series villain holds the key to the success of the movie. In the previous franchisee ‘The Dark Knight’ it was Heath ledger who personified evil. This time Tom Hardy unleashes fury on screen but the metallic mask impairs his ability to fully express himself. Regardless of the obvious limitation Tom Hardy has successfully managed to send shivers down the spine.

It doesn’t mean there are no flaws in the movie. The screen-play lacks the pace which we are used to in Batman saga and at certain point cine goers get a feeling that the story is being dragged beyond its limits. Director Nolan has done well in these dull moments and the movie never reaches to that critical point where you lose interest in watching the screen.

If you are a Batman follower and fan then ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is a must watch this weekend.

Movie Review : ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (**** Four Star)

(By Akshat Sharma) Marvel’s superhero Spider-Man is back with a bang after a hiatus of five years. Superheroes may come and go but ‘Spider-Man’ continues to charm the audience. This time Spider-Man offers you a new treatment. Directed by Marc Webb and supported by a totally new star cast ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ keeps you hooked till the end.

Superhero movies are all about superhuman skills and human emotions. Like any other superhero movie ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ is about the strife between good and evil but what makes it special is stunning special effects and a tight narrative. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) who lives with his aunt May and uncle Ben (Sally Field and Martin Sheen) is a typical American high School student.

Peter Parker likes his classmate Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) but doesn’t know how to make the first move. He comes to know about his superpowers when he is bitten by spiders. Thrilled by his new found powers Parker tries to impress his girlfriend but the Oscorp Industries headed by Dr Curtis Connors (Rhys Ifan) is busy on a research project of growing human limbs like the lizards do on their own.

Dr. Connors takes his research onto a new level where it becomes a threat to mankind. Responding to the challenge Peter Parker dons the mantle of a saviour. The message is loud and clear that superpowers come with a responsibility.

Director Marc Webb has treated the movie in a different style and has given the movie more realistic and humane approach. Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone, as Gwen Stacy share good onscreen chemistry and it shows in romantic scenes of the movie.

For Indian audience Irrfan Khan was a big draw but in his small role he disappointed many who were expecting a meatier role from him. Barely visible in three scenes Irrfan is simply a non entity when it comes to the roles played by actors in the movie.

‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ is certainly one of those movies which becomes a must watch for cinema loving fraternity.

Movie Review: ‘Rock of Ages’ (**Two Star)

 (By Savneet Kachru)This week’s movie release ‘Rock of Ages’ takes you back into the 80s when life revolved around drums, guitars and people followed pop culture like religion. It was a period when the world witnessed some of the greatest artists who walked this planet.

Directed by Adam Shankman ‘Rock of Ages’ is journey back into those good old days. It could have been an epic film had the director not lost his sight from the script and certain other areas. The movie begins with Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) who arrives in Los Angeles from Oklahoma with a dream to make big.

She falls in love with Drew (Diego Boneta) who shares her passion for music and big dreams. They join hands and try to make inroads in the music industry. They meet  Dennis Dipree (Baldwin in a grungy look) and his aide Lonny (Russell Brand) who own a club called the ‘Bourbon Room’. This club goes through rough weather and  certain vested interests run a  campaign against it.

‘Bourbon Room’ could be saved only by someone like Stacey Jaxx (Tom Cruise) who is a megastar in the music industry. Highly unreliable and volatile in nature Jaxx join hands with Sherrie and Drew. They script a new success story together.

Storyline is interesting but a weak screenplay takes a toll on overall impact of the movie. The strength of the movie is its wonderful star-cast which supports the movie. Tom Cruise delivers a stunning performance in his role of maverick music maestro. It is a film only for die hard Tom Cruise fans and people who want to relive those days back in 1980s.