Sunday, January 29, 2012

"The Grey" (2012) - Movie Review

I think if I am dying and Liam Neeson tells me that it is ok to die, I would accept it gracefully. The man can do that with a voice mastery close to that of Morgan Freeman and concoct it with his performance to convince me in that. Known only by his last name to be Otway for most part of this film Neeson’s character does that to a a fellow man (James Badge Dale) of his eventuality and does it with a grace in Joe Carnahan’s redemption, “The Grey”. If you do not remember Joe Carnahan, let me refresh your memory with one of the worst films I have ever seen “Smokin’ Aces”. That movie made me to skip his critical success “Narc” and his box office churn factory material “The A-Team”. In “The Grey” he redeems himself considerably and with quite an authority over this vehement portrayal of human survival.

Otway gets stuck in the middle of snow land with few of the survivors as him when they were heading back from the oil drilling job in Alaska. Trapped, hurt and with little hope of someone finding them, there is a significant immediate threat than the freezing temperature, the wolves. Otway was working as the shooter to protect the drilling team at the site and that aids him in assisting the group to operate for survival. The group begins with Flannery (Joe Anderson), Talget (Dermot Mulroney), Diaz (Frank Grillo), Hendrick (Dallas Roberts), Burke (Nonso Anozie) and Hernandez (Ben Bray). The film is a slow and sure death of most of these either to the cold or the wolves.

“The Grey” reminded me of David Mamet’s “The Edge” which contains lesser number of men fighting against a deadly bear in the wild. There the film focused on the underlying relationship between two characters which is how Mamet’s world works around on the unexpected actions from his characters and the layer of plot details that unfurl them to behave in that manner. Here the setting is similar but the characters have little to no background. We see Otway writing a final letter to his wife (Anne Openshaw) before the crash happens at site and ready to shoot himself. We also see him dreaming about her to escape from the very real reality. Beyond that the details that are shared by the characters are used properly and quite effectively in emotionally connecting with them.

What makes the film tick is Neeson’s unrelenting command over his character. While just a day before he was trying to kill himself and now he gets up in this freezing land, open and bleak to get things going. He hurries through the debris to help others and before you know it he leads the group in assigning duties and assimilating things. To see Neeson’s rage is a pleasure in how impeccably measured those are as though care was taken in weighing it in physical balance and deliver it with brute force.

This is not about the thrill of the escape. In fact the killer animals jumping from side of the screen is very minimal and when it happens it comes from the very much present dark that is genuine. Genuine in the sense of how real the characters have no way of seeing these wild creatures. The real crux of the film is the interaction between these people. The simple jokes in these unforgiving circumstances that relaxes them for a moment. The film mildly suffers initially from the cribbing and complaining Diaz as the obligatory jerk in these situation yet that character has a convincing turn in the events that come forth.

The film dabbles with the concept of death, the philosophy of faith, acceptance, denial and the fight. It is bleak, hopeless and when the end is near you know what is coming yet unable to accept it. That is the nature of the human survival. As much as hope guides through the cave of darkness and provides a possibility of betterment, there is peace in acceptance of doom. What is the line that would divide the difference that marks death and survival? Where do you draw the line when you are hit with that abyss of a future? Beyond faith and belief, what drives you and what does not and what is that burning desire in the belly to keep it going? “The Grey” takes a tour through those questions not of course there to answer but to ponder in to these ruminating thoughts of existence.

Joe Carnahan’s film provides thrills for sure especially when there is only one way out from the deadly cliff. Either go back as food for the wolves or go forward with the ridiculousness of what stands in front of them. That and many other scene invoke the sense of spirit of fight and survival. And it sheds the light of being accepting of an end every one is destined. Take it the calmness of Neeson’s Otway puts forth on a man to lay his head down and bask in the warmth of nothingness or another character knows what he has gone through and his action plays on the shades of giving up and meditate in eternal peace in this terror, “The Grey” is much more than a thriller that seem to use the wolves as props to venture these territories of philosophy. Even in those props is an analogy wherein the animals work as much as a clever and relentless group in hunting these bunch with sheer perseverance. As I was watching this film with awe on what Joe Carnahan has made out of from a short story “Ghost Walker” by Ian MacKenzie Jeffers, I thought to myself “if there ever is a redemption in film direction, this is it” and damn Carnahan earns it with full heart, mind and soul.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"The Artist" (2011) - Movie Review

Sadly and quite embarrassingly, this reviewer’s first and only silent film seen is Buster Keaton’s “The General” ( I do not count the partially seen “Metropolis”). What is more sadder than that is the fact that I did not pen a review about it. Hence comes “The Artist” which is indeed the first (almost) silent film to get its review from this reviewer. Michel Hazanavicius’ film as “Hugo” goes back to the roots of the movie creation and pays homage. It also carries a heartening comedy with a lovely romantic drama.

To simply make a silent film would have been just an experimental pet project but to use that as a part of the film is what makes “The Artist” a better film. It goes true to that era as stardom has sprouted itself and in that web of fame and fortune is Jean Dujardin’s George Valentin. A thoroughly charming talent glowing in the warmth of the audience’s applause, appreciation and adoration. Jean Dujardin brings forth a smile that cannot be constricted in adjectives. The way his character delivers it encompasses everything about perfection that does not become cocky nor bombards with attitude. It is the most genuine, caring, proud and enjoyable expression the man sheds out that makes us not only believe in his celebrity status but also the unconditional likability towards his character.

Oh, I forgot to mention that George Valentin is the star in 1927 as he ploughs the streets of Hollywood and sweeps women off their feet. His power of stardom earns him to command his producer Al Zimmer (John Goodman) to obey his calm orders. He is married. Though he seem to be in love with himself. Even his cajoling act towards his wife (Bitsie Telloch) is a performance and a proof to himself that he can pull stunts like that and get away. In that world comes the kind of beauty that daringly challenges Valentin’s King of smiles, of course lovingly.

Notice that I am careful on the intensity of any form of control these two lead characters have over others and each of them. That is how the film gets played wherein even anger is soothingly warm yet transpires its complete emotion towards its audience. This beauty I was talking about is Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo). Bérénice is the petite, big eyed, short curly haired sweetness that makes you wonder where does she get this energy from. An accidental encounter with Valentin and a genuine dance audition lands her as an extra in the film Valentin is in. Their scenes that requires the kind of magical chemistry in love at first sight works effortlessly. The way they fall for each other can be horrifically screwed up in a rom-com upchuck but not here. If you have any doubt of true love, then well, you are rightful in your doubts but damn these actors make us believe in it.

“The Artist” despite its brilliance is the simplest happy sappy story as “Hugo” was. Yet it place close to the hearts of film lovers. It is made with love for those people who believe the medium is more than entertainment and the medium had an origin which carries the strength of facial expression than dialogue deliveries. In its infant form in the ever growing films is where Hazanavicius takes us and then puts a story. And he does not stop there, he goes ahead to take his central character to have an ideological difference in the way this industry was moving forward. Again he does not stop there but weaves the age old tale of untold and unexpressed love due to that difference. You think it is done? Nope, he then uses the element of silence and sparsely selected sound poured into this creative mix to put a commanding completion. Now that makes the dream project to life in the most successful manner.

To not mention George Valentin’s dog (Uggie) would be unfair. That smart, short, cute and ever loving creature generates the appreciation in tenderness and laughter in its audience by not only being there but performing immaculately. And to not mention James Cromwell’s Clifton would be unjust. These two characters puts forth that the film has more than the traditional love story but human connection amongst them and to their reliable friendly creatures as well.

As much as praise this great unique piece of work in this advanced time, “The Artist” might play in terms of logic and strength in storytelling sullen and little subdued for the people who have grown with the modern film of explanation and loudness. I think I am partly a victim of it. When I watch a classic film, especially a silent film, the mind has this information of the time it was made. As much as objectively you can separate it, there is a part that influence that experience. You either enjoy more than you would actually do if it was made today or not enjoy it but still carry a forgiveness for the limitation it carried in time and resource. “The Artist” does not have that and you treat it as a normal film but you are conflicted in its presentation. That plays tricks on your mind. You begin to get mixed feelings. But this is just a rambling of a person who has an obsessive sense of obligation in everything he feels, thinks and remotely relates to a film. I can promise you that this would open doors to the world of silence that is filled with expression and it will widen the windows of background score that decorates the kind of experience that has been long forgotten.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"The Iron Lady" (2011) - Movie Review

The utter failure of “The Iron Lady” is due to one quintessential thing in any film requires, direction. Director Phyllida Lloyd loses that in blunder on being unsure about what to do with the screenplay by Abi Morgan. “The Iron Lady” is a spectacular waste of Meryl Streep’s breathtaking portrayal of this powerful woman. For starters it assumes that Margaret Thatcher in her old age is dealing grief with hallucinations of her dead husband Denis Thatcher. Now if it had some credibility through the means of basing it on a book and the medium taking its own version, I would have not been completely surprised but to make things out of thin air and in which it does not aid the film in any possible manner seems to be shocking in taking this route.

Meryl Streep exemplifies in saying that attention to detail does not come alone in make up to make a real life character but the mannerisms and the miniscule concentration on the way she tilts her head, gives a daunting look and the stature brings that person alive on the screen. Here she does the old Margaret Thatcher grieving for her husband played by Jim Broadbent and she is unable to cope with the reality of the condition the life cycle puts one through. She is in a dark house and anyone will be depressed out there. You do not leave an old woman there to ponder on the loneliness. Not definitely someone who had the authority and power to rule a nation with conviction now in deep need of aid to leave the house.

The film is series of flashbacks while she is desperately struggling to overcome the need for Denis to be around. She finally decides to get his things out of the house and that causes further wave of emotions. This might lead to believe that there will be some conflicting arguments and incredible support from Denis during those tough times of being the leader of the country. The director does not even shed a minute light on the struggles she would have gone through to be the lone female battling the male dominated government. And to support this woman in her journey and battle, Denis would have been the much needed supporting husband in those circumstances. The film leads that way but has Jim Broadbent playing baseless scenes as hallucinations than when he was alive.

What “The Iron Lady” also misses is the desperate and crying call for a strong supporting character. A performance to accompany Streep’s immaculate display. We see prospects as mentioned above in Jim Broadbent who of course gets wasted, then comes Airey Neave (Nicholas Farrell) who gets killed just when we get to know him and finally is Geoffrey Howe (Anthony Head) whom we do not even know the identity till he gets bullied and yelled by Thatcher. The scenes which had some flesh in it are when young Margaret (Alexandra Roach) grows up seeing her dad give great speech to inspire her and when young Denis (Harry Lloyd) asks her to marry him. That is the story I would have liked to see. Growing up to have that inspiration and then to pursue it against a society and to find a man to share that passion and get support through it. Instead as the film’s take on old and dementing Thatcher, it suffers the own peril of being unsubstantiated.

I was excited to see this film because one of my all time favourite film “The Queen” carried a strong take on a strong woman living through a life no one can ever see or understand. She fights through the authority despite her own authority on the matter. Then we see her worst side, the better side and the best too. Finally we empathize with the life she was thrust despite the wealth to grow in a sheltered world. I can see similar evolution of character in Margaret Thatcher, even more so if you ask me.

What was the intention out here? Even take the title for instance and that does not get much justice. If some angry and loud justification for the tough policies and the decisions in Falklands War she orchestrated was enough, then that is a blunder as well. The much talented and the brilliant delivery of Meryl Streep gets thrown out in a shabby arrangement of the biography. Even my beloved music director Thomas Newman cannot provide his best under the circumstances. “The Iron Lady” not alone foils the Oscar nominating and possibly winning performance of Meryl Streep but potentially set the bar on someone else recreating this tale to grave. I wish I am wrong in that front as I would very much love to see a better film on this personality.

"Haywire" (2012) - Movie Review

Only Steven Soderbergh can get Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas to star alongside retired mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano and in the meantime get few of them to be ass kicked by Carano as well. “Haywire” is nothing but a pure thriller, Soberbergh style. Though I expected little bit more of a novel treatment from the man.

The film is a short, tight and precise thriller that goes on without brakes. Gina Carano appears to sharpen her eyes with a devilish knife that scorches nothing but clarity of certain authority over her opponent. She can either simply bring them down hard and raw or bring them down hard and raw and kill. We see her beat the hell out of Channing Tatum’s Aaron and in series of events you will see her beat the people to pulp whenever they are in her way.

From such a great director even the silliest of plot would bloom into a visual extravaganza. Either it becomes a certainty of laying out a character for the film to associate to its central character as in his previous “The Informant” or become a complex of behavioural analysis in presentation and simple things in “The Girlfriend Experience. Here “Haywire” while having the unique quality for a thriller does not get that fulfilling feel of watching a Steven Soderbergh experiment.

Despite that complaint, Gina Carano’s Mallory Kane crashes through the screen with presence and then puts down the men responsible for being trapped and cornered. She of course owes an obligation to the audience and to Scott (Michael Angarano) whose car she is riding to getaway on to explain the details of the misfortune she was put into the private sector contract business. We learn her boss Kenneth (Ewan McGregor), Aaron of course and the Barcelona job. We hear the unknown motivation for Kenneth’s machination to put her to ground. In those stories we see her working her magic through stunts, immense running, sword like speech and execution.

Soderbergh has been the modern wave director breaking convention in ways one could have never even anticipated. He takes on experimental movie making and projects that bring in actors who are not actors and actors whom we cannot imagine playing these kind of roles. Look at “The Informant” wherein he got comedians Patton Oswalt, Joel McHale and Tom Papa to play serious characters and more importantly how they excelled in those roles. Then he brought porn star Sasha Grey to be part of a thorough exemplary film making of depicting human connection and physical relation towards the opposite sex.

And how can I forget “Bubble” the most off beat independent film one can find with people who have never acted to give another subtle presentation of human relationship and instincts. In “Haywire” that is one of the reason we are in wonder to see these stars come by and portray quite simplistic characters. I think I was expecting more out of this oddity than a tight bound thriller. In fact I was able to see one small revelation to be unnecessary which is Mallory’s dad (Bill Paxton) is in on her ploy when Kenneth arrives at his place. The following scene could have done plenty well on its own without knowing that. I believe the fact of that standing out loud and clear made teeny tiny disappointed.

So “Haywire” is not the best of Soderbergh’s film but as his several other not so great films is a thoroughly entertaining one. The actors have wonderful time playing these characters and clearly participating in the hand to hand combat Carano engages them. Gina Carano is undeterred in this role of Mallory which does not resemble Lisbeth nor the regular array of femme fatale. She does her stunts and the camera swerves and angles in directions that for a regular eye goes unnoticeable but carries a presence of this director. Despite my qualms I love the fact that Soderbergh can get these stars and mainly bring in unexpected talents from unrelated sources to his screen and make them bring their best. For that and the non-stop no mess thriller, “Haywire” kicks, punches, claws and get you engaged to leave the hall happily with a smirk.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Point Blank" (Language - French) (2010) - Movie Review

“Point Blank” does not wait a moment to screw around. It has a mind of a organized person and completes the film in a beeline. That makes this formulaic, predictable and done-a-million-times action thriller into an enjoyable high adrenaline, at times touchingly emotional film. Fred Cavayé directs with absolute energy. Hesitation is not what you would get in his screenplay which he co-wrote with Guillaume Lemans.

Samuel Pierret (Gilles Lellouche) is that innocent person filled with good and bubbling with prospective future with his pregnant wife Nadia (Elena Anaya). His life will of course take a turbulent turmoil because he rescued a man at the hospital. He is a nurse aide and he will soon be a nurse or doctor. The man he rescued is Hugo Sartet (Roschdy Zem) whom we see escaping from couple of madly motivated thugs when the film begins. What results is Nadia is kidnapped and held as hostage unless Samuel frees Hugo. This is how simple the story begins.

Soon enough there are cops, good and bad, very clearly identified work through the maze of buildings, windows, public places, elevators, escalators, train station and the police station itself chasing for these two. This French film cannot escape the comparison of “Tell No One”, another high octane yet emotional action thriller where the hero runs like hell. Gilles runs and jumps and the film does justice to chase scenes not with ridiculously impossible stunts but logically genuine choreography executed with sense and care.

“Point Blank” is the most ordinary plot I could think, yet it works it like a professional. We assume Sartet is good at start but he is ill fated for Samuel, then we see another side of him but we are not sure. Characterization is the least bit of attention in films like this but the actors here truly believe in them and bring out a faith in performing it even amongst the maddening stunts. Hence we not alone root for them but associate closely with their perils. Especially the bond between Samuel and Nadia which usually gets dissolved and compromised in the mill of entertainment becomes a caring genuine concern in the end when she is struggling deeply and in the midst of a possible miscarriage. What a careful sense of emotional balance director Fred Cavayé does that so that they do not become the melodramatic annoyance and come forth as two people in true dangerous situation and vehemently love each other.

One of many reasons “Point Blank” works is that the characters do not become mere puppets in an action flick. At the same time they do not overstep their responsibility. The balance act of this makes it a study in executing a perfect screenplay for a thoroughly well disciplined film. There is no unnecessary obligation or elongating an explanation. Everything we need to know are out there and are explained/solved instantaneously.

For all its nuances and perfection, the film offers nothing new either. While Fred Cavayé knew exactly what he was making, I think the potential nature of this terrific film maker made me yearn for more but this is not the film to discover and meander for deeper meaning. What you see is what you get. Not a millimeter more or less. You get absorbed, you get enthralled, you get to your edge of the seat and you leave with a content happy ending.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Young Adult" (2011) - Movie Review

Jason Reitman seems to find these characters who are impeccably flawed and then makes us like them for who they are and dislike them for the same. I think it is great to write for characters like this and Diablo Cody comes back with this script after her “Juno”. Here we get Charlize Theron playing unabashedly this character without holding anything. She is full on and you are in wonder how there will be a happy ending for it. Of course there is no happy ending for this. Jason Reitman as Martin Scorsese in his great films provides an insight into a character from point A to point B without any necessity to resolve or happily ending it.

Charlize Theron is Mavis Gary, a blonde in her late thirties living the city life in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her life seems to be depressing, unhygienic and methodically self destructive. She does one thing absolutely well, that is to groom meticulously. She gets up with a hangover, washes it down with diet coke, feeds her dog with pre-made food, feeds herself with pre-made food and then stare at the computer for materials to complete a book series she has been ghost writing. In this fine day she gets an email containing a picture of a baby. This is the daughter of Mavis’ high school boyfriend Buddy Slade and his wife Beth. This disturbs her deeply while there are several other things in her life that should wake her up. The path of destruction begins as she makes up her mind to go back to her hometown Mercury, Minnesota to win her high school heartthrob back.

Mavis Gary is the person who is so aware of her beauty and develops a great level of snob, attitude and personal pride in considering every one around as the next worst thing. This gets developed in the society wherein the high school becomes a popularity contest and the winner seems to be girls like Mavis. While most of them shed those as they grow and get the reality check but others like Mavis remain connected to that land where they were regarded as goddesses. Mavis comes back to that land in the idea of reclaiming Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson). This attitude applies to guys as well who become irritable jocks but then again they grow up to face the world in a different perspective. Buddy has clearly grown out of it. He is leading calm and happy life with his wife Beth (Elizabeth Reaser) and a new born baby. There is content that gets screamed out of him and the people who knows both Mavis and him. Yet Mavis has made up her mind and sees what she wants to see. Yes there is a perfect disaster in the works and when it happens, you cannot look at it as you thought it would be.

One of those people who advices her to pack up and consult a therapist is Patton Oswalt’s Matt Freuf. He went to school with Mavis and Buddy. In fact his locker was right next to Mavis and still she does not remember. What she remembers is that he is the person who got beat up by jocks because they thought he was gay. Now permanently handicapped and other parts that does not aid him getting close with ladies, he is the person who desperately tries to talk Mavis out of this and at the same time being there for her wherein she does not respect it one bit. Patton Oswalt once again surprises with a serious dramedy performance and he brings in the same talent as he did in “Big Fan”.

Jason Reitman somehow makes Mavis digestible despite her inconsideration to anyone beside herself. The only selfless act she does throughout the film is when she says “good morning” and offers coffee to Matt’s sister Sandra (Collette Wolfe) near the end. The fact that she is at Collete’s house says how much of her simple act gets emphasized.

“Young Adult” achieves something that is so difficult to attain which is to make a dislikable central character and then they do not even make us like her and at the same time does not instantaneously hate her. We feel sorry for her as many does in the end of the film. The fact that Mavis can still treat people like dirt is because the society has elevated her beauty to that level to allow that without harm. Jason Reitman along with Diablo Cody have made it look so easy and Charlize Theron make it look so considerably damn easy. Yet what we come out of is a film that puts you how one would instantaneously react to Mavis just by looks and then by what she acts upon. You would be surprised by the contrast of our thoughts and that is exactly what the film intends to.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"My Week with Marilyn" (2011) - Movie Review

The nature of a splendid female in her drama that gets so despised is what basically attracts men. The nature of men to bounce around women is the what basically attracts women. In “My Week with Marilyn” we see many of the former in Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) and little bit of the latter in our main man Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne). When Marilyn Monroe was in England for the movie “The Prince and the Showgirl” to be acted/directed by Sir Laurence Olivier, a young man with dreams in his eyes and passion to be behind the camera becomes the third assistant director. In simple words, he is the bitch to every one and that is how you start your career in the showbiz. That is Colin Clark. This is the movie about him seeing the most beautiful, fascinating and understandably complex young girl.

I have not seen any of the films of Marilyn Monroe but one cannot erase their first encounter through images. That devilish blonde hair and the inviting lips with the rightly placed mole on her face would melt any one. Regardless of her being no part for that face of course apart from greatly taking care of her, she is much more than the image. From what I can learn, she embodied everything a man would lust for, love for and to comfort for. She embodied the extremity of woman in all forms and characteristics and that made her the most biggest star in the world in her times and remain so even now as an icon.

Directed by Simon Curtis, the film does the ultimate justice to her. The monumental task falls on Michelle Williams who has come a long way from when I saw her in the soap operatic television teen drama Dawson’s Creek. After that she dazzled in so many complex characters and come out with more than flying colours. Her portrayal of desperate young girl trying to find her dog in “Wendy and Lucy” and in one of the most saddest and brilliant tragedy of marriage on screen in “Blue Valentine”. Despite my unawareness of the mannerisms Monroe had in real life and in the films, as I saw Williams portray her and the deepness of this confused yet pristine personality told that this could only be her.

Alongside Kenneth Branagh as Sir Laurence Olivier, the young man Colin Clark becomes the eye for the audience. He takes the gasps along with us and brings to the front of this voluptuous woman that melts hearts as she walks, stares, moves and even when she simply stands. Even in her most utterly depressing state of mind, she is charming in her own way. Despite her little girl seeking in need of attention, she takes all in and somehow knows the players who get in are always aware of the predicament. That happens in several times for Colin Clark, who gets constantly told by others to not get in deep. But the human heart does not obey words of others let alone their own.

Colin Clark as many men in her life becomes residue of several hearts she flung around and becomes ashes of those happy days. Michelle Williams is so good in bringing that woman to the screen that we cannot even help ourselves in allowing her to be that way. But before we put the judging cap, there are facets to this magical gal who mesmerized single handedly the wide audience. She annoys Laurence Olivier by not showing up on time, forgetting lines and questioning his directorial skills through her acting coach Paula (Zoe Wanamaker) but Laurence in his private conversation with Colin says how utterly blown away he is by her elegance, charm and of course acting skills. Laurence himself is in the phase of losing himself to the age and wonders whether Monroe can rejuvenate him by just being alongside him.

There is Judi Dench as the most understanding, kind and splendid human being in Dame Sybil Thorndike. She is generous and how magnificently she supports Monroe when Olivier asks her to apologize to Sybil because of her not being punctual. May be Sybil saw herself in this young girl who is surrounded constantly by people and men. The fame is a pleasure and pain. On one end Marilyn enjoys showing off to the crowd but at the same time she is driven away by that to seclusion and ultimately to self loneliness. She yearns for attention and love but could not make up her mind. Even Colin who would love to be with her might be startled and drifted off by the insane fame that followed this great beauty. “My Week with Marilyn” does not take that for granted and shines insight into this complex being. And in Michelle Williams Simon Curtis gets the best he could ask for and we do take sides with Marilyn because she demands it and you cannot help it.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" (2011) - Movie Review

I wish the way the last 20 minutes of “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” played transpired throughout the film. A thoroughly incredibly entertaining and novel climax like none other than Guy Ritchie pulls this film out of its ritual misery of continuous rather mediocre adventures of Sherlock Holmes with a commanding performance from Robert Downey Jr. and his nemesis Professor Moriarty played by Jared Harris. Ritchie employs the technique he used in the 2009 predecessor to avoid the laborious unnecessary stunt thrill one would have endured in regular circumstances. Instead we get the best mind games and we are saved of those troubles to have a stellar ending, at least for this film as the three-quel is in the works.

After the short lived romance of Holmes with Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), he buries himself in the conspiracy of several events to be linked to the one man he doubts to be the problem, Professor Moriarty. In this he is left alone as his buddy and fellow investigator Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) is about to wed Mary (Kelly Reilly). Being devastated of being left alone and the only clue that left in this investigation is the letter he stole from Adler leads him to a gympsy Simza (Noomi Rapace). After Watson weds, he bids adieu to the couple for their honeymoon but gets an invitation to meet with Moriarty. That reveals the ill fate of his lover and the incoming danger to the newly weds Watson and Mary. That destines him to crash the honeymoon party before it began in the train as he has to rescue his buddy and thereby solve this mystery once in for all.

So far so good and the adventures that takes us through the trains and towers are entertaining but not enthralling. The vital visuals come into place when they are being chased by bombs, bullets and knives at Germany. Ritchie has managed to concise the perfect timings for his killer slo-mo shots. With commendable aid from his cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, he achieves those which accentuates the danger Holmes and his crew are going through and at the same time stopping our hearts unknowingly in the process. I am a great admirer for Ritchie’s visuals and here he triumphs in the department he so well has established.

There are simple character developments. Even the demise of his only possible lover is brushed aside for action than analysis. The relationship that gets prime attention of course is between Watson and the titular man. Sherlock clearly is disapproving of his friend’s marriage as he loses him to the domestication and to continue solo on these dangerous ventures. That underlying notion guides a good ending. Yet this is not a film about the great characterizations and relationships rather the heart pounding actions and the witty lines. The former happens in dozens while the latter are spread thin. Downey Jr. dons the wit quite casually in the film that require him to and here he seems to be subdued than the first venture.

Jared Harris as Moriarty appears quite non-threateningly at the start. The real terror of him only shows up as he hooks Holmes and swings him around for answers. Yet he really comes out to play his crucial part in the end. While I did complain about the way the finale played out should have been the tone the film should have carried, I think the punch it provided is due to the mildness of the rest of the movie. Yet it would have been quite entertaining to see these both fight out those kind of battles in much more detailed fashion on multiple occasions.

“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” is a perfect entertainer that cannot be questioned at all. It satiates the needs of the regular movie goer without denigrating them to mere puppets and then goes further in providing some novel ending against a fodder of uninteresting sequences. The plot and the eventual unraveling of it is not spellbinding nor does it require the great mind of Sherlock Holmes. It invites Robert Downey Jr. to have fun with his parts and perform stunts of raw muscle and agility with the right capturing techniques of Ritchie’s eye. These combination with a decently combined screenplay makes this film a complete entertainment.

"Carnage" (2011) - Movie Review

The feeling of being a father is something I have not yet experienced but I can see how a parent reacts when their kid is involved in a conflict. What is the stands on it? Do they stand by them even when their kids are wrong and would team up to stand against their bully or intimidator or spread the wise words of civility to resolve the conflict? Of course the obvious choice is the latter which is how “Carnage” begins as the parents Penelope Longstreet (Jodie Foster) and Michael Longstreet (John C. Reily) invite Nancy Cowan (Kate Winslet) and Alan Cowan (Christoph Waltz) but the undertones of defense and offense cannot be stronger and it bubbles and bursts into one big chaotic finale.

Surely one immediately gets the feeling of watching a play as it is adapted from one titled “God of Carnage” by Yasmina Raza who co-wrote the screenplay with director Roman Polanski. The meeting is underway because we see Longstreet’s son Ethan got hit by a stick on face by Cowan’s son Zachary in the opening scene. As they assemble to sort out this in the most civilized awkward manner, they come to realize they are not that civilized after all. Soon the ugliness of the marriage, male chauvinism and feminism springs bright and might.

Roman Polanski directs this venture which cannot have better promising scenes in the beginning. As the obvious eruption of emotions are awaiting, somewhere it goes from realistically crazy to unbelievably nuts. What drives the film are the undertones, the subtlety of insinuations and accusations both parents bring on each other. Clearly Nancy has dragged the lawyer man Alan into this meeting. Both of them at different times keep trying to get out of the place only to be stopped by each other or by the Longstreets.

Alan is in the middle of a crisis of advising a pharmaceutical company to deny allegations that their drug is causing hazardous effects on its patients. He is the sort of person who can be effortlessly rude and accepts it as his characteristics as his defense. He consistently gets phone calls which he insensitively picks up and talks leisurely while enjoying the cobbler his hosts provided him as the rest of the audience stare in absolute awkwardness.

Nancy cannot stand Alan’s detachment from this situation. She has had at it of him being outside of the family in not being involved. Then comes Penelope who tries really hard and struggling to control her anger on this whole issue as she is conflicted in her life of civility and righteousness. In between is her husband Michael, the simplest man in the middle of this seeing for what it is. He is the man like Alan in a different way.

Amongst these exists coalitions, character assassinations, name callings, blame, betrayal, issues of marriage, puking (a lot of it) and drinking (a lot of it). All in a day when two parents with lot of issues meet up right? Polanski I believe is attracted towards the gangs each of them take and under different routines. Soon enough the original issue gets away paving great deal of dissection onto the personalities of each other and their relationships. Penelope wants accountability, Alan thinks it is the way of the world, Nancy thinks Alan needs to be a father and Michael wants to cut all this crap.

That is the spine of this film where sides are taken in unexpected manner and twists are delivered in the unlikely way. It is carried on without a hiccup for most of its 79 minutes but goes berserk as the intention was in the last 20 minutes. The idea of the film is to blow this out of proportion in the ridiculous unbelievability to provide a strange kind of comedy, drama and chaos but it works against the film leaving us in disbelief.

The brutality of human behaviour is when it is shed down to its minimum in terms of survival. It steps down from community to family to couple to male/female to individuals. The film takes that step and animates it as it gets closer to the individuals. By the time Penelope is excruciatingly sobbing and screaming out of her lungs and as we feel the throat pain seeing her, we are not sure about the comedy or the drama and we are not sure about the seriousness of the film either. This of course is an actor’s dream assignment as the team of excellent cast take over this material. Of course us men would be enthralled by the simplicity and class of Christoph Waltz and by the open and brotherly John C. Reily. And I think us me will be annoyed by the drama in Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster as they elevate through their alcohol. I would like to hear what did the women think of these men and the women. When the chips are down men will be men and women will be women? May be that is the point Polanski was trying to make.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Another Earth" (2011) - Movie Review

It is a fascinating experiment to learn about the basics of emotions and consequences through the result of science fiction than the actual phenomenon itself. “Another Earth” a low key indie flick rides on this philosophy comes out more as a good exercise than a mind blowing experience. And it is always heart warming to see a film underplay the bigger phenomenon to focus on the ground level reality. Every one carries on with their life in goodness, routine and remorse despite larger things happening around them. When I read a news about the discovery of a far and light years away planet having the possibility of life a form, it intrigued me as expected but I immediately moved on to read the following news. Life as such goes on until it knocks on your door and kicks for your attention.

“Another Earth” carries this personality throughout the film and keeps the dramatization of this new thing on the sky to a simple basis. As Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling) is celebrating her acceptance into MIT there is a new planet on the sky, very similar to Earth. She drives intoxicated and staring at this phenomenon on the sky while driving does not help either. She causes a terrible tragedy of killing a family leaving the man alive. She serves four years in prison as this new Earth on the sky becomes bigger and bigger as scientists are making desperate attempt to make contact. She comes out of the prison and obviously ridden with guilt decides to work as a Janitor than pursue her dream education.

The surviving man is John Burroughs (William Mapother). A professor in music is now struck with depression. Rhoda walks to his house to confess and beg for forgiveness only to turn around say she is working in a maid service and ends up cleaning his distraught house. You see she was a minor when she caused the accident leaving her name unknown to him. But I wonder he would recognize through the booze and consistent depression that haunts him.Slowly these two begin to develop an odd form of bond.

What I have noticed in recent days is the power of being among people. There is a force we feed off each other regardless of the spoken communication we make. There is something to the nature of being social. This unexplained but obvious formula of comfort, joy and existential satisfaction tells about us. While the desire being acknowledged of the existence is one thing and us being the approval addicts is another thing I do though strongly suspect there is more to it than those. Sometimes you do not need even need to make complete conversation to get this benefit. John and Rhoda begin to get that. He invites a routine into his life which has long gone.

Rhoda also enrolls in a competition wherein a unique company offers a civilian the first ride to the Earth 2. Her childhood fascination towards astronomy might be the driving factor but there is more to it. This is a rare chance to escape the world she has failed in. There is another world similar to this. There is a revelation that makes this new Earth even more interesting than its existence. We learn that everything that happened in Earth happened out there. In short terms, the Earth 2 is photocopy of our Earth including the people living in it and the things that happened to them. That puts a new twist on things. Did Rhoda commit the same blunder out there as well ruining the family of Burroughs? If not, is there a chance of redemption out here? How do you define redemption in this scenario?

“Another Earth” fundamentally has several logic flaws once we get into the real concept of science and laws but director Mike Cahill is not interested in that. It is purely a plot driver, a really good one to put us in thinking of this scenario. Brit Marling co-wrote the screenplay with Cahill and here we see a strong promise for a sensible emotional writers. Both of them are keen on the external factors that are beyond one’s control dictating the possibility for better life on these people. The film moves at an expected slower pace. It does not have a strong dialogue except for the one where Rhoda explains to John on how a cosmonaut turned an irritating noise in space into something beyond peace. Apart from that, “Another Earth” is too aware of its indie nature and that plays against it. Nevertheless it is a much more sensible film and the simple questions John evokes are marks of a promising writer(s) and director(s).

Sunday, January 08, 2012

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (2011) - Movie Review

What a damn methodical film “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” is. Director Tomas Alfredson adapting this novel by John Le Carre on to the screen says it is about the journey and not the destination as it has always been in these many great films. Arranging packets of information while keeping us glued to the screen is an extraordinary sense of achievement in executing the script. Putting pieces together has never been suited to address a film. With actors whom I have no idea how they grasped each of the scene’s gravity to provide this unperturbed link of story telling is a surprise to me. No wonder you not alone have the proven cast of Gary Oldman and Colin Firth but also the rising talents of Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch as well. Add John Hurt, Toby Jones and Mark Strong, you get the brilliance in the supporting cast as you get in a thorough script by Bridge O’Connor and Peter Straughan.

These are not James Bonds but office workers traveling around simply and in the constant undertone of fear. There is not much socializing or at least the socializing is a front for something else. There is no fascination of this job other than wandering gloomily on a dreary day. Smoking with a longing of what entails further in this job is what you see in these spies’ lives. The undercurrent of the betrayal, loyalty, trust and friendship are sprinkled with suspicion.

The film’s motive is to drive its viewers through a complex plot with a stunning clarity. Gary Oldman is Smiley an old spy agent who got forced into retirement along with his head Control (John Hurt). The reason being the miserable collapse of an assignment Control’s agent Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) went into in Hungary on a purpose of getting information about a mole in the agency’s top level. Jim gets shot by Soviets and the political mess that instigated leaves the old man to die unknowingly of the perpetrator. A year later another source in the form of agent Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy) providing confirmation that there exists a mole brings the retired Smiley to investigate. Smiley keeps Ricki’s contact Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) and adds another trusted fellow from old days to carry on this secret investigation.

Control had his suspects on all of his spies including Smiley but the new information has taken him out of the equation there by leaving Percy Alleline (Toby Jones), Roy Bland (Ciaran Hinds), Bill Haydon (Colin Firth) and Toby Esterhase (David Dencik). By the time we arrive to the answer, we are left with a terrific exercise in execution of a perfect screenplay. The story is told with a sombre feeling all the way as if their jobs seem relentlessly bland in terms of action but terrifyingly real in terms of the consequences. Yet through all these we are constantly thrilled and provided tiny pieces of information and we are on the lookout.

There is no great dialogues of morality, loyalty and what not. What is out there are the men who perfectly know what they signed up for. Their passion is invisible in this labour but once they are in, they are in. When Smiley goes through the investigation he is emotionless. The only time even he shows signs of anger towards this mole is when he talks with the mole in the confinement of the intelligence. There are personal lives that are cut short for the job and the pain has left them pale.

The invisible characters are the key to this compelling story. There is Smiley’s wife with whom Haydon has an affair and that is not underlined but mentioned which forms an identity of its own. There is Karla, the KGB agent who taunts Smiley and their rivalry carries such a powerful undertone throughout the film. The sub plots of the story develops a sad but a strong emotional component to this whole mixture. As Jim Prideaux surfaces as a teacher in a school and the subtle bond he develops with a student, we are more intrigued on these multilayered personalities living lives amongst shadows and closed curtains.

Alfredson’s story fascinated me in the building up the blocks. The film is not on the suspense but on the procedure. David Fincher’s “Zodiac” comes to mind on how it assimilated the details rather than the actual find. The “wow” moment when the suspense unfurls is not the key to this thriller and that is not the intention of this film either. This is an exercise on providing a film that does not let you close to these characters yet you are enthralled and bored by their lives. This is bare bones in presenting the world that otherwise is mostly exaggerated and exploited in providing action and thrilling films. Tomas Alfredson provides a thriller unlike any other where the details are the angels of precise film making.

"Hugo 3D" (2011) - Movie Review

“Hugo” is the best example of how can two great directors approaching a sappy material. One can invoke life out of it and the other, well, the sappiness out of it. The latter of course was the painfully sentimental “War Horse” I kicked of 2012. Martin Scorsese’s film though threatened to take the route of Spielberg’s venture gets rescued splendidly in the middle by none other than Sir Ben Kingsley as Papa Georges and the enchanting visuals and further editing by Thelma Schoonmaker, Scorsese’s regular collaborator.

Based on the Brian Selznick’s novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabaret”, this follows the titular boy played by Asa Butterfield confined in the train station at Paris. He goes around keying the clocks varying from giant to the smallest and he does that with no one noticing it. Even the most vigil and comical Inspector Gustav played by Sacha Baron Cohen with the oddity in bringing laughs from merely the way he delivers a line. Hugo watches the people who run their livelihood in the station through the gaps of the clocks amongst the minutes and seconds. One particular man’s shop has been his regular target for stealing something for his secret machine. That would be Ben Kingsley Papa Georges.

Who would have imagined that one of the greatest directors of our times especially a legendary classic one would opt for 3D that is single handedly panned down by hardcore film goers which includes this reviewer. With that skepticism as I watched “Hugo”, I was slowly getting justified of that feeling. Not that I am dead set against meagre semblance of sentiments, I am just wary of excessively manipulated one and to be disappointed by a director I admire to a great deal would have been heart breaking. But the master story teller was holding his best cards till the middle and reveals a magical experience that lays forth the reasons for everything including the spectacular use of 3D.

Hugo is the Oliver Twist kind of character. He is an orphan and is left alone to fend for himself in the big wide world. In this scenario it is the train station and Scorsese takes you through this giant fulcrum that makes it all going in the opening shot and then on several other occasions to feel the steam, the crowd and the fresh smell of baked pastries laid out amongst those with flagrance and beauty. Hugo has one thing that keeps him going which is to fix the automaton his dad (Jude Law) brought from his museum. That is the heart beat which keeps Hugo surviving day by day. Thus bringing him to encounter the owner of the train toy shop, the old man Papa Georges.

He gets a compadre as the old man’s god daughter Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz) and they form a convincing bond. She is at the age fascinated by the fantasy from the books she read though beckoning real life adventures. Sure enough Hugo has those right from the sheer amazement of getting her into this giant train station’s interior sparsely seen. Then Hugo introduces her to the films that has been forbidden by her Papa Georges which we come to know why.

Hugo is a celebration of this art medium. When Lumierre brothers invented films, they did not think much of it and saw it as a passing entertainment which again we learn from the film. And all it took was some wonderful artists to take this and paint their own to capture the attention of the audience and what we have now is something of a monster that threatens, fascinates, feeds and provides us with great films, horrendous ones and to miniatures to monumental film makers. As I think about the film, it stands more and more of a perfect homage to the work he loves rather than a sappy film about a boy finding his purpose.

Hugo has the precise execution of several actors which I have mentioned but the one that surprised me was Sacha Baron Cohen who I have not taken seriously as an actor. Here what could have become a side note of a character existing for physical comedy in the childish manner possible transforms into a reasonable and genuine person. His comedy is best not through his comical running in his mechanical leg but when he speaks to Hugo for the first time, his pure interaction with his mean and majestic dog Maximillan and his cluelessness in impressing the lady (Emily Mortimer) he has interest in. I would love to see him in better roles more than his regular but committed crazy characters he suits on in his mocumentaries and other ventures.

As the film unfolds to reveal one of the earliest film makers who was fascinated by this medium that resembled his then trait of magics and illusions, I as a film lover could not stop myself to be captured by the montage of the flash backs that are laid out. What a pleasure to purely create magic and inventing those techniques with a team and that process is what fascinates every film maker. In “Hugo”, Scorsese gets to show his fascination and then provide that inspiration to the kids who will be watching this. Even as an ardent film lover, I was not aware of Méliès and to re-ignite that legacy in the coming and existing generation who has forgotten the ancestors of the medium is the right way for a film maker to present this film. And to add the looked down medium of 3D into a true tool of reason to be a homage to those early effects is nothing but mastery. This truly has opened the eyes of the people who just put down a film for 3D alone (including me) to justify the film for its purpose and the tools that aid them. Granted that this reviewer has enjoyed few of the 3D films but I was never a fan of it. While this film has not changed the opinion of this reviewer of unnecessary insertion of 3D in films, I can give this tool as the great special effects that revolutionizes the movies a chance.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

"The Descendants" (2011) - Movie Review

Alexander Payne’s films always have a male lead with peculiar characteristics yet so normal. On the outset they are average Joe but as any average Joe, they have a wife, kids, concerns and issues. He dealt it with a unique dark comedy in “Election”, kicked it off smoothing down Jack Nicholson in a killer role in “About Schmidt” and gave Paul Giamatti a character to ruminate in “Sideways”. Here it is George Clooney and as his male lead in previous films, we come about to sympathize, empathize and mainly respect him. This should have been my first 2012 film to come back to my films in great fashion.

The film happens in Hawaii and that forms a background of its own. Every one wears beach shirts, appears to be happy most of the times given the depressing scenario Clooney’s Matt King is in and are always greeted by wonderful nature. The most dashing celebrity in Hollywood withers down to a regular personality. No fancy one liners or the oozing confidence of Daniel Ocean. Not even the tired yet stellar presence of Michael Clayton. If I ran into Matt King, I would think that he is a regular working guy whom I can hang out and have mundane discussion about weather and what not. I think that is the specialty of Clooney who makes most of the people think that he cannot do different roles but does these wide varieties of characterizations.

The film shows the tedious world of Matt King crumbling around him. Matt’s wife is in coma and as the film starts he is hoping for a second chance in the dying marriage he sensed before his wife got into a motorboat accident. He has been the traditional dad of working and having formality discussion with his daughters. His ten year old daughter is Scottie (Amara Miller) dealing this circumstance and ordeal of seeing her mother in the hospital and Matt does not know how to handle it. He has no clue on how to behave, react and operate around Scottie. He and his wife have good friends who help them out until he finds out that his wife’s coma is permanent and as per her wish, she wanted to be taken off life support. This gets worse and worse and he suffocates inside of the ever devastating situation.

Matt has another daughter who has cut ties with her mother and is being brought back. This is Alex played by a very confident Shailene Woodley. She is the eldest and the teenager which is a wandering situation for any dad. She breaks out the reason for her fight with her mother that turns Matt’s world upside down one more time. There seems to be no end for his sadness. If this is all looming on him, his ancestors’ land need to be sold because of the rule of perpetuities that puts them to sell it. He is surrounded by these information and decisions to be made. In between he has to feel for what he has to feel.

Payne’s films lays out the saddest of the situations in to something digestable. In the sense that the tragedy keeps getting deeper and deeper and we still smile, laugh and cry amongst those. May be because he makes it real as the life itself wherein misery does not stop the regular routines of life. You continue all those things with a crappy mindset but you continue for sure. Here the continuation is a venture of finding the man who has destroyed Matt in several manner but mainly emotional. Soon enough Matt, Scottie, Alex along with Alex’s friend Sid (Nick Krause) are traveling around to find some sense and answers into this terrible scenario.

Oh what wonderful characters this film entails. Apart from the main players, the fascinating ones are Sid and Matt’s father-in-law played by Robert Forster. Sid is the teenager boy you would not want around your daughter on the first go. Then he becomes this lovely personality whom not alone Matt comes to like but also respect. Robert Forster’s father is a prick but also a grieving father. Look at how insensitive he is around Matt and how sensitive he becomes around his comatose daughter. And how Matt’s wife Elizabeth played by Patricia Hastie lays down there and Payne paints this picture of her character through different people and form a opinion of ourselves.

George Clooney plays Matt King not as a chump but as a meaningful man. He is not awkward but clueless. He does not do stupid things to evoke cinematic comedy but behaves and reacts to empathize on his agony and laugh along the way. He makes it simpler on the screen and projects frustrating emotions with great ease. His character is constantly in confused emotions filled with anger, sadness and betrayal. Amongst these he forms a bond with his kids and in a way to his ancestors. “The Descendants” is one of the best films of 2011.

"War Horse" (2011) - Movie Review

Although “War Horse” is a film for kids, it is the most sappiest and melodramatic romantic film since “27 Dresses”. Yes it is a romantic film about a boy and several others in love with this horse. I decided to be selective in my film watching after the aforementioned disaster of a film “27 Dresses” and you have to agree that Steven Spielberg qualifies as a better bet than Katherine Heigl. This film as one of Spielberg’s earliest ventures “The Terminal” unabashedly goes for the overdramatic emotional kill right from the start and never turns back.

Based on the novel of the same name by Michael Morpurgo, this is the story of course of a horse that becomes a young boy’s pet, a drunk’s stupid buy, an officer’s horse, eventually a war horse, a young girl’s substitute for pony and then becomes another horse’s friend, then solves World War - I. If it had survived its years through World War - II and several others till now, it might have calmed the energy crisis and the Republican primary.

To have a central character that does not have lines needs anchor of supporting characters and a cast to hold it steady and strong. Here they get the cast but they are put through ordeals of spurting terrible lines that would put Cruise’s Ethan Hunt in latest Mission Impossible to shame. The lovely animal is majestic and Stephen Spielberg employs a stellar coverage of its mad run only in the end instead of several other opportunities for excellent stunts.

In the old English land of Devon is Albert (Jeremy Irvine), young boy destined to be that kid who is cherubic to care for this respectful beast. His father is a war veteran and a qualified drunk with a loyal and weirdly supporting wife. Emily Watson is the lovely woman to tell the tales of Albert’s bravery and how he should give the old man sympathy for being a stupid drunk and not appreciating his kid’s hard work. The kid of course believes in this horse that every one are dead set against of not being the horse to plow the fields. You know where it is going. Against all odds it would do the job, then it would keep on doing great things while every one suspected it to. This goes on for hour and half. We get it, this horse is awesome.

As the horse shifts places going through war zone and having a bad omen of killing few of its owners, we see several characters that are put there to build something with invisible strong suits. Right from the officer who is plainly courteous and most accommodative of the boy’s zeal in keeping his horse, he sends pictures and cajole’s the boy’s early pet loss. Of course they would be reunited and make love, oops scratch the last part. This reviewer does not encourage bestiality.

I am all for great inspiring stories with justifiable amount of sappiness. Take this film “Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story” where a horse against all odds becomes a strongest one and organically gets the audience to root for it. There we had wonderful supporting casts of Dakota Fanning and Kurt Russell, but more than that are the screenplay and the story that falls through in a manner that does not decimate its audience into something of a reality TV participants begging for drama. In fact in “War Horse” the horse Joey lands up in the hands of a young girl and her grand father. Supposedly the warm relationship both of these share and the horse boosting that into another level was the agenda that becomes a non-calorie burning emotional work out.

The so-called crucial scenes that includes battle, reunion and drama are not punctuated but splashed with the ugliest paints of overly manipulated cinematography and screenplay. There is a horse race between the officers where it is a clear day and suddenly when the race begins everyone comes out of the fog. That is one such scene and “War Horse” has ton of it. And when war is happening around and wounded soldiers are in numerous begging for attention, everyone suddenly takes time to give horse a chance to find its owner. And why the heck everyone has to stand up when the animal is being brought? There is this annoying beckoning in those scenes where all the members on the screen does not have a life of their own or there is no surrounding. It is purely about these two that is pestering on your face.

I have seen films for children in animation and live action that feeds the required amplification of certain drama but also treats it with intelligence. Steven Spielberg’s film is shameless in its emotional exploitation and the medium itself is such that but in this it cannot be more obvious thus minimizing the aptitude of its audience. There could have been sensible wonderful scenes of genuine drama. Take the scene where two soldiers from opposition front come to no man’s land to aid the horse and see how blandly it gets constructed and executed. Fraternization in World War - I got brilliantly depicted in “Joyeux Noel” which provides the same emotional pay off much more convincingly and rightfully. Spielberg’s horse endures several things rummaging through mud, barbwire, bullets, bombs and mad people but I am sure it cannot endure this film.