February Movie Reviews Part 2

Okay so I want to finish the movie reviews of February asap so I can start writing the March ones. I’m really behind! I want to come to a point where I can review each movie individually in detail.

So my last post was about 12 of the movies that I watched in February and their brief reviews and ratings. This post will continue with the reviews of 12 more movies.

  1. Idiocracy

You know this movie was very clever. Judging by the what the world is going at the moment, especially with Trump posed to potentially become the next President of USA, the future imagined in this movie might just come true. The movie is about a military experiment in which two people are put inside some sort of body preservation box that makes them go to sleep for about 100 years or so (or maybe its less, don’t remember exactly how many years they are in for). Both of these persons eventually wake up to a world that has come under what is called an ‘idiocracy’. Much like the present times but 100 times more intense, people laugh at jokes about poop, fart, and other bodily functions. Water is replaced by a soft drink and people are led to believe that it is the only clean, safe and healthy drink for the public; so much so that they water the plants and crops with this soft drink now. You see, water is only for toilets. The point is that two people with average intelligence in the past are geniuses now. The plot is interesting and the film provides an important message to the public. I did have one problem with the film though. I might sound feminist here but I don’t think the average girl in the movie is given any importance in the movie to show that she too is more intelligent than the general public in this future world. Instead, the girl is assumed to have the same level of intelligence as an idiot in the future in many scenes. In the end, she ends up becoming the vice president of America or something and also the wife of the most intelligent person on the planet, the average guy of the past. It’s a good movie for the concept and makes for an interesting watch.

Rating: 6.5/10

2. Cars

Another Disney movie with similar plot and story lines except that in this case, it has to do with cars. Despite my interest in animated movies, I was never persuaded to watch this movie till last month when I thought I would give it a go while I was on a roll for watching movies. It’s okay. I mean nothing special, nothing too memorable but nothing too bad either. I can imagine the young audiences enjoying it, especially the ones interested in cars.

Rating: 5/10

3. Whiplash

Now this is a movie I happened to stumble upon while scanning through channels on my television. What a movie! Despite being based on an understanding of and interest in instrumental music, the movie connects with the audience on a human level. It is about this idea of pursuing your dreams and how far you are willing to go for it. When should you give up?  Another dimension of this movie is the abuse of the student by a teacher and the extent to which the student is willing to lose self-respect in order to gain the respect of his teacher. The balance of emotions is beautifully captured in the movie that shows the relationship between a teacher and a student that is based on respect, fear and abuse. I think everyone can identify with this movie at some level because the range of emotions shown by both Simmons and Teller are very real and very relatable. J.K. Simmons portrays the character of the teacher beautifully. It is no surprise that he got the Academy Award for this role. Teller is also very good But I thought his acting lacked a little bit of intensity (especially when compared with Simmons). Whiplash is definitely a recommended movie, especially for people who love music.

Rating: 8.5/10

4. Ex Machina

One word: Mindblowing. And I mean it with every sense of the word. This film is so engrossing, so engaging, so shocking and surprising and it completely blows your mind at the end. I absolutely loved the story. The actors are all brilliant, all on point. the production design, cinematography and costume are very detailed and each object in the movie is there for a reason. The story is, like I said, mindblowing. Screenplay is flawless. This is my favourite sci-fi movie so far. I think it definitely deserved to be nominated for the Oscars. The film left me in shock and kept me thinking for 2-3 days. The intense effect it had on me is only matched by the movie ‘Room’. If you don’t watch this movie, you are seriously missing out. I cannot recommend this movie enough.

Rating: 10/10

5. Calendar Girls

This was such a sweet movie. This movie made me think why don’t people make films like these anymore? Such a simple story and presented in a brilliant way. It is a real little gem. Genuine feel-good, heart-warming movie that you can watch whenever you need to lift your spirits.

Rating- 9/10

6. Limitless

This was very interesting. The concept that a designer drug can make you use 100% of your mind that leads you to become a successful billionaire is very believable. I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the movie as the character discovers his “powers” and tries to “control” or develop them further. The second half seems a bit slow and drags through to justify how the protagonist continues to use the drug despite its negative effects. It’s interesting to compare this movie with the movie “Lucy” that claims that using 100% of your brain means losing your physical body and existing virtually. I always find these sci-fi movies exploring the human mind very very interesting. Limitless is another one of these movies that pushes the boundaries of human imagination a little bit more. But unlike Ex Machina it didn’t really blow my mind.

Rating: 7/10

7. Straight Outta Compton

I have to admit, I couldn’t understand half of the dialogues in this movie. A lot of swear words, violence, guns, racism, gangsters and rap. The movie was good. It was dark and intense. I think it dealt with the subject of racism very well and the time period of 80s and 90s was shown very well in production design and costume. The movie records an important landmark in the history of the movie industry and it does it well. All actors are good and the script was well written (except that I couldn’t understand a lot of language and urban references). I think anyone interested in rap music would enjoy it. Unfortunately I’m not really familiar with rap music from the 90s and I had a hard time experiencing any kind of nostalgia that many audiences might have experienced while watching this. For me, it was an average movie just because I didn’t really have a connection with the movie.

Rating: 7/10

8. Meet the Robinsons

An animated movie about time travel! Its one of the good ones. Except that the villian in this is super-duper weird lol.

Rating- 6/10

9. Southbound

A good horror movie. Made out of five short stories, each from a different genre of horror, this movie does a good job in seamlessly entering from one story to another. the story that I most enjoyed was the one where a guy driving on the road hits the girl and is then directed to take her to an abandoned hospital. The movie that I liked the least was the one where a brother comes looking to save his sister from ‘Hell’ and ends up dead himself. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rating- 7/10

10. Deadpool

One of the most awaited movies by Marvel about one of the weirdest and funniest superheroes.It was very funny. The action was sick! Loved all the fight scenes! It was a superhero story told in a different way altogether. I mean yes it was an origin story but they gave a nice little romantic angle to it while making sure that Deadpool doesn’t lose his comic timing and his superpower in never undermined. All the comic book lovers got exactly the kind of Deadpool who they know and love in live action form. Having said that, I have to admit that I found the humour a bit crass. I mean, yes, that is what the Deadpool character is like after all but it was just not something that I particularly liked about the movie. I liked the comic timing in Ant-man much better. But besides that, the movie is very well made, all the action sequences are good, it is genuinely funny and stays true to the comics. I would look forward to another one of these.

Rating: 7.5/10

11. Grimsby

This is the first movie that I watched of Sacha Baron Cohen. I have heard about his movies like Dictator but have never found them interesting or funny enough to watch. It’s just not my kind of humour. I went to the cinema expecting myself to be completely grossed out and hating the movie but it wasn’t as bad as I expected is the best thing I can say about this. Undoubtedly there are moments when the movie is desperately tying to find novel ways of grossing out the audience like never seen before and it relies on the shock value of these moments to create humour. I didn’t like those parts (and there are lot of such parts). And the jokes at the cost of disable kids are frankly disgusting and reprehensible. There were a few moments in which I genuinely laughed, the Donald Trump joke being the best joke of the movie. I think that the message that the movie had at its core was definitely good but it hardly comes across to the audience in the movie. The film seems to be lost in its desperate pursuit of shocking the audience into laughter and completely loses out on any meaning it intended to have. Just another one of the comedy movies that people make every year relying on crass and juvenile jokes.

Rating- 3/10

The other movie that I had watched in February was Spotlight and I already gave a detailed review about that earlier. Go check it out. march reviews coming up soon.

 

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Daredevil Season 2

Watching Daredevil for the past 8-9 hours and with series nearly complete (2 more episodes to go) I can honestly say the series has captured the essence of good and bad profoundly and perfectly. The series has an underlying theme of the battle that we all fight within our conscience in deciding what we consider as morally acceptable and what is not. The punisher offers a perfect embodiment of the opposite of daredevils belief in seeing good in everyone. The trial of Frank Castle forces the audience to pick a side and the series offers good arguments for both. Foggy is clearly on one end of the spectrum going along with leaving the decisions about criminals in the hands of the law. Karen, on the other hand, sympathises with Frank and questions her own conscience in the process. The whole debate led me to think- when do you decide to punish a person; what is that line that defines the decision that it is okay to take the life of another person? Is it when you want to avenge the death of a loved one; when you are mentally unstable; when you give them fair chance to be good and they fail; or when you stop feeling guilty about it? These limits of conscience are defined differently by each character in the series.
I have to say my favourite character in this series (besides Daredevil of course) is Karen Page. Just to see her character grow frpm the terrified and confused young woman in the last season and to become so fearless and determined in this season is amazing. Her character was a little bit annoying to me in the last season but its just inspiring this time. There was also a mystery about her past and her secret of killing Wesley that added depth to her character this time.
The romantic angle of Matt Murdoch with Elektra and Karen is interesting. The relationship between Matt and Elektra seemed almost inevitable at one point in the series. I was relieved when they decided to go their own way. Karen and Matt seemed a cute couple and it may have made an even cuter love story but unfortunately Matt is a vigilante and we all know that complications would have developed for both Karen and Matt if they continued. The scene where Frank gives advice to Karen about Matt was a bit out of place and it seems to point to a possible future relationship. In any case, I think Claire and Matt are much more well suited.
I was wondering throughout the series if the Punisher realises that Matt is Daredevil when he hears his voice on their “first” meeting. The series did show Frank looking confused in contemplation when he met Matt. Even during the trial when Frank is supposed to give his testimony it seemed like he knew something about Matt. Perhaps he does know Matt is Daredevil and just doesn’t care enough to put any more thought into it. I mean he did say that he didn’t care when he chained daredevil on the rooftop and Matt asked Frank if he was going to take off his mask.
The series remains quite dark and serious throughout but keeps the viewer’s attention with interesting plots and twists. Daredevil has his hands full all through the series and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the guy. It’s almost confusing that there are so many plots going on at the same time and I had a hard time keeping a track of things at some points. With all the craziness going on, Matt has to make a choice between being Daredevil or being Matt and it’s truly sad when he has to give up on Foggy and Karen. Foggy has emerged as a strong character as well and provides a breather in all the seriousness and darkness. He seems to be battling the villians in his own way which may not be vigilante-like like Matt or as passionate as Karen but is still effective.
I was looking forward to many easter eggs from Jessica Jones but so fae there was only one reference made about her by Marci. Jessica Jones droppes quite a few hints about Daredevil and I was expecting the same out of Daredevil. After all, they live in the same neighbourhood.  Maybe there were easter eggs but I just didn’t spot them. I’m sure I’ll read about a few of them soon enough.
I felt that the Daredevil series leaves the viewers in a dark and unsettling afterglow as the protagonist seems to be battling an almost never ending evil in the world. The only way to control this evil seems to be to kill your conscience and that unfortunately makes you a part of evil itself. That is the dilemma Daredevil deals with throughout the series and that’s the dilemma that we the viewers seem to feel in everyday life. There is a eerie connection between the dark Marvel world of Daredevil and the real world that we live in now which makes it so relatable. With two more episodes to go, I hope Daredevil shows me a light at the end of the tunnel. If not that, I hope the series shows a way to hope for such a light to appear at some point of time.

Lots of Movie Reviews!

So lately I have started watching movies! Yay! I must admit I hardly watched any movies earlier. I mean I enjoyed some good movies, but really most of them are pretty bad. Especially Bollywood movies. I didn’t care much for Hollywood of English language movies because I never understood the accent when I was a kid and by the time I did, I had just lost interest in movies. But anyway, I have had a revitalised interest in films recently. I decided I was going to watch Oscar nominated movies of 2015 and ended up watching so many good movies. Now I wish I would’ve started watching movies earlier. Am I making any sense?

Now what I loooooove about movies (good movies) is discussing them and analysing which parts I liked, what I didn’t like, why I didn’t like it, what was particularly good. I’ve also learnt to understand some of the technical terms like cinematography, camerawork, screenplay, production design and what not. This is a post I am doing about the movies that I saw in February, a total of 24, and what I thought about them (in brief). This is a list of new as well as old so please bear with me.

  1. Meet the Patels

I saw this on Netflix and it seemed interesting because it was about an indian guy who is a ‘Patel’. Since my husband is a Patel (and by extension I am too), we had to watch it. It was a documentary type movie, all shot on handheld camera (I guess?) and was really sweet. It was very real and had experiences that I (or any indian) could relate to. The acting (if it was acting?) was very good and had very clever storytelling. If it was in fact just a string of recorded videos at home that the actor decided to make into a movie, the editing is brilliant. Those little animations are very good and make the story very coherent.

My rating for the movie would be 7/10.

2. The Danish Girl

I loved this movie! Eddie Redmayne is fantastic! The way he has portrayed this character is unbelievable. And Alicia Vikander is equally good. And both these actors carry the story so well. Everything in this movie is exceptional- be it screenplay, the dialogues, the acting, direction, production design, costume, everything. I was so engaged in the movie and I could empathise with the characters. At one point, I started crying so much that my husband paused the movie (I was watching this at home) and asked me if he should stop it because its making me upset. When I heard about the comments made about the movie that its too stagey, I could not disagree more. Everything in the movie is perfectly balanced and the portrayal of Lilly is absolutely on point and in sync with the time period that the film is set in. I highly recommend this movie and I think Eddie Redmayne should have undoubtedly won the Oscar for Best Actor for this movie.

My rating for the movie is 9.5/10

3. Cloudy with a chance of meatballs

I love animated movies. I mean I know I said I didn’t watch movies earlier but I have never been able to say no to an animated movie. In one word, this movie was weird. And I don’t mean it in a negative way. I mean the whole concept was so out of this world. A geeky scientist creates a machine that can rain food? Whaaaa? Lol

But the underlying message is something that I could relate to. I mean there is an increasing amount of hybrid, scientific and techno food that is being produced at the moment and people don’t understand the implications of this artificially produced genetic hybrid food. I understand the the film tries to address this by adding a quirky context to an otherwise traditional storyline. The everyday, cliche storyline is of geeky, loser guy becomes a hero and wins the princess till everything goes dreadfully wrong with his invention and then he has to save his town.  It becomes more interesting with the introduction of the concept of artificial food and how people react to it. It’s a good animated movie that does everything you want an animated movie to do. It’s funny, quirky, different, it has a moral message and is heart warming  at the end of the day.

My rating for this movie is 6.5

4. Ride Along

It’s alright. I mean it’s funny in parts but nothing amazing about it. I found it okay that’s all I can say.

Rating: 5.5/10

5. Mad Max: Fury Road

This movie is proper action chase movie. If you love action, you would love this movie. There is not one dull moment in this film. It keeps you on your toes throughout. The movie does not dwell on explaining the post-apocalyptic context too much and relies on audience to decipher the kind of world that the people live in in this movie by giving a detailed attention to the production design, costume design and makeup. There is hardly any scenes that requires a lot of acting either. There is not a lot of dialogue. The strength of this movie is in the fight scenes and chase scenes that keep you guessing throughout if this group of people and Max will ever make it to the “green place”. There is an underdeveloped twist when they do get to the green place that doesn’t make any sense but then again, this movie is not so much about the story as the battle between Furiosa & the gang and everyone else who wants to kill them. Max hardly has any role to play and seems to be a passenger in the movie throughout. There are some moments when he gets the flashbacks but they didn’t make any sense to me because I haven’t seen the previous three movies. All actors did a decent job but there was just no opportunity for them to display their acting skills really. This is a hardcore action movie that is exceptional in the technical aspects of movie-making. I can imagine this to become a classic in the action-movie genre.

My rating for this movie is 7.5/10

6. Tomorrowland

An interesting portrayal of what the future might be like. I think anyone who is into sci-fi movies would want to watch it just to see what Disney imagines the future to be like. But I wasn’t really blown away with this movie. And come to think of it, I’m having a hard time remembering any memorable moments. I remember it was a bit hard to understand and a lot of it didn’t really make sense. The future that they had shown was nothing exceptional, exactly a non-animated version of tall buildings, everything made out of glass, high-tech gizmos everywhere, flying modes of transportation. It’s all a bit of cliche isn’t it? And all of this can only be accessed by a selected few through a magical pin? Like I said it was okay-ish but nothing memorable.

My rating: 6.5/10

7. Theory of Everything

Eddie Redmayne is brilliant. He is exceptionally talented. The way he has portrayed every nuance of emotion in the character of Stephen hawking is commendable. The movie is a biography of the brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking and I guess it might be of interest to people who want to know more about him but I didn’t really think that it was all that good. I mean the direction is good, the screenplay is good, the acting is brilliant, and they got everything right in terms of time period. But the basic story is just not that appealing you know. Maybe it was just me because I’m just not that interested in knowing about the scientist’s life (as unsophisticated as it may seem). But when I did watch it, it kept me engaged to some extent. It was meant to be inspiring and I did fell a little bit in awe of Stephen Hawking and his journey. But despite all that, I probably won’t watch it again. There was just not enough substance in the movie for me. Sorry! Having said that, the Oscar for Redmayne is definitely well-deserved.

My rating for this movie is 7.5/10

8. Tammy

I just read the name of this movie on my list (yes I make a list of movies that I have seen like a loser) and it took me a moment to remember which movie this was. So it has one of my favourite actors Melissa McCarthy and it was a good comedy movies. A girl goes on a journey with her grandma and they bond through the trip. It was cute and hilarious at the same time. I love Melissa McCarthy movies, I think she’s one of the best talents in comedy that we have. I’ll watch it again and I’ll still laugh. I recommend this when you need to lift your spirits.

My rating- 7.5/10

9. Million Dollar Baby

There is no way I can’t like this movie. I mean it’s a classic. Everything was perfect in the movie including the sad ending. Very inspiring.

Rating – 10/10

10. Gladiator

I have watched this movie before but I watched it again this time with new eyes (and better understanding of English haha). It’s a classic. Love Russel Crowe. And I love the tigers haha. No way I have the ability to review this movie just because it’s so good.

Rating- 10/10

11. Zoolander

I watched Zoolander because at this time, there were a lot of promotions going on about Zoolander 2. I loved it. It was hilarious. It was very different kind of comedy. And Ben Stiller is so good in it. My husband hated it but I loved it. I thought it was very clever and the context of fashion industry was novel (for the time). I did think that part where that reporter has an orgy with Ben Stiller and everyone else and then Ben Stiller confesses his love for her was so weird and still so funny. Like I said, I thought it was a clever comedy but I can understand if people might find it dumb. After all, the definition of comedy has changed from actual funny moments to jokes about farts and poop and sex and bodily fluids. I don’t find those funny but I found this movie very funny because it was funny in a classic way.

My rating for this movie is 8/10

12. Ride Along 2

I can’t even remember it properly to be honest. Similar storyline as Ride Along. Similar jokes. Funny in parts just like its predecessor. I you watch it, you can. If you don’t, you’re not losing out on a lot.

My rating- 5/10

Will review the other 12 movies in another post. Need to make dinner now. Bye!