Archive for the ‘Hollywood’ Category

Everest (2015)

Posted: December 27, 2016 in Hollywood

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This is based on a true story. I often wonder what makes a person to give up the comfort of family life back home in a developed country to take up the challenge of a perilous journey to scale Mt. Everest, unarguably one of the toughest feat to accomplish in this world. As one of the character in the film says “It is the desire to see what no man has seen.”

The film follows a group of intrepid mountaineers who gets together in 1996 from different countries to scale the highest peak in the world. This is not a film for the faint-hearted and highlights the arduous battle in the task.

Right from an initial month of training at base camp to acclimatize with the prevalent weather conditions to the other difficulties that greet the challenge seekers, the film effectively depicts the sorrowful and triumphant moments quite realistically.

A few questions couldn’t escape my observations though. The team of risk takers were mostly White men and women. Why were there no one from India and China, the two Nations that when combined comprises half of humanity? Why can’t Bollywood with multi crore budget never made such films that celebrate the adventurous streak in man?

There’s brief cameos by well-known Hollywood actors like Robin Wright and Kiera Knightley. Jason Clarke & Jake Gyllenhaal featured among the cast.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

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It is a big thumbs-up when three non-Bengalis (Mira Nair, Irrfan Khan & Tabu) gets into the nuances of Bengali culture and make a convincing film. Based on a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, the film NAMESAKE highlights the immigrant experience of a Bengali family in America. The film
is rightly paced capturing the transitions and the developments in a credible way. The filming is superlative with an International crew grabbing the essence and the landmarks (like Howrah Bridge) of the city without blemish. The quiet romance between Tabu and Irrfan is endearing. The sequence where Tabu alone in the house gets to know about the passing
away of her husband and breaks down in their garden demonstrates her acting prowess.

In a similar way, Karl Penn, who plays the son, does well in dramatic sequences when he breaks down on the pillow where his father had slept last. There are several wonderful cameos as well by actors from the Kolkata film industry – Sabyasachi Chakraborty as the father & Kharaj Mukhopadhyay as a servant of the family in the ancestral home of Tabu. The tendencies of immigrants to live within their communities, the blossoming of romance between a second generation immigrant (the son Karl Penn)with a white woman with its complexities have been neatly juxtaposed into the narrative.

Rating: 4.1 out of 5

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It takes you to a very different plane. The survival tale of a shipwrecked boy and a tiger is laced with gritty realism on the one hand, and a leap into a magical land and divine forces on the other.The visuals are stunning. The gritty tale of survival is based on a prize winning novel by Yann Martel. It weaves a fortituous tale of the protagonist Pi, a zoo keeper’s son who grew up in Pondicherry and thereafter loses his entire family in a ship enroute to Canada where his family was immigrating. They find themselves in an inclement, stormy weather.

He is the lone human survivor in the ship at sea. Keeping him company is a royal Bengal tiger Richard Parker, an orangutan, a hyena and a Zebra. The provisions in the ship would last a few weeks….Would Pi be able to hold himself in the midst of these ferocious animals and reach safely among human civilizations. Beneath the surface level tale of human drama and endurance, the film sublty weaves in spiritual philosophy, faith in the divine and incorporates elements of fantasy in the narrative when the protagonist reaches a strange island with miraculous happenings. Can a man develop a bonding with a man-eating beast? Do humans and animals react in the same way to tragedy? Find out the answers by watching this absorbing drama…

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Hats off to the cameraman and the computer team for this. It is difficult to really believe that Richard Parker (well that’s the name of the tiger) was really computer generated. The film is directed superbly by Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain). The cast includes Irrfan Khan, Tabu and others.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5

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The film ‘Hugo’ directed by Martin Scorcese stretches the frontiers of cinema,

it weaves a fine narrative style with innovate camerawork – an early shot is a longish one which traverses briskly along a crowded marketplace and culminates in a wall clock, the film is rife with such unusual shots quite a few of which are aerial zoom-ins. It revolves around a small boy who lost his inventor father (Jude Law) and his arduous struggle thereafter; he becomes a petty thief with the great ability of fixing machines, an inherited skill from his dad who died in an accident. He incurs the wrath of a toy shop owner (Ben Kingsley) who forcibly snatched his ‘notebook’ with a promise to return it if he puts in sufficient work at his shop to compensate for the items he had pilfered from the shop.

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Through flashback, it is revealed that Ben Kingsley was actually a good magician who thereafter became the very pioneering and celebrated filmmaker George Melius and made several landmark films together with his actress wife, who doubled as his ‘muse.’ The film touches science fiction (the robot like Automaton is simply great), philosophy (the boy is shown discussing philosophical significance of his life with his girlfriend), film restoration, societal indifference to great artists.

                                                                                                            

 This is simply a very different Scorcese that we’ve seen (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) in the past, but he simply wows us with this one

The acting is commendable. Sir Ben Kingsley gives another sterling performance.

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The protagonist kid (Asa Butterfield), his assistant and girlfriend(Chloe Grace Moretz) & Mrs Melius (Helen McCrory)are all hugely likeable -even the comical and vigilant cop (Sacha Baron Cohen) with a dog always hounding our small hero, putting him inside a cell on an occasion & who undergoes a transformation at the end make the proceedings lively.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5