bookspluslife

February 17, 2018

Movie : IT (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:44 pm

imageMy, my! I have been a fan of Stephen King’s books for decades and read IT many years ago. It is an excellent book to read, and if you have not read it, I recommend that you do, even if you have seen the movie. To me the book version of most stories are more intense with very few exceptions (not this one) where the movie improves upon a very fluffy book experience.

 

The obvious examples of the examples are, for instance, the Lord of the Rings movies. Not that the book was not good but the movie went way beyond Tolkien’s description and really brought the story breathtakingly to life. But mostly it is the other way around.

 

The bonus you get when you read the book is to see the rest of the story too. As you probably know, this movie just covers the first half of the book and the second half is still pending for a sequel.

 

When I read this movie all those years ago, I kind of decided that you really cannot make a movie out of it, since this story is so surreal that any effort to show what happens would fail. I am told that there were some TV versions of the story earlier, and some critics even claim that the TV version was scarier than the movie. I have not seen them and do not know if it is true or not.

 

But the movie version is pretty good and I admit I was wrong. This group showed me how to make an excellent movie out of (not the book but just) the first half of the book.

 

There are some deviations, some well judged and some disappointing to a book reader. They left out the scene where Bill and Beverley get physical – it made no sense in an otherwise well written story and it was really good of the movie makers to axe it. But there is also that scene where the bike of Bill kind of gets conscious and saves him. I agree that this too has nothing to do with the story but it was kind of cool. I do understand why they may have chopped that too, but I missed it.

 

And one more aspect of the preamble and then I will get to the story : Everyone is raving about it and I wholeheartedly agree: Bill Skarsgard, who played Pennywise the Clown, steals the show. The portrayal is brilliant and he imparts the full sense of creepy doom whenever he appears. Great job.

 

The rest of the casting is also near perfect. You have Jaeden Lierberher as the near perfect Bill, stammer and all. Jeremy Rae Taylor is exactly how you would picture Ben Hanscom would be. Casting has been brilliant.

 

The story is as true to the book as possible. George, Bill’s little brother, gets the paper boat to play in the rain and meets Pennywise. (I did not really thing that they would show how he loses the hand first, but they did!)  With disastrous results. Bill is determined to find out what happened to the missing brother. He is part of the Losers Club, with friends Richie, Eddy and Stanley. They absorb a shy girl Beverley and a butcher’s son Mike who does not want to kill animals and the local fat boy Ben. They form a friendship and grows as their adventures grow.

 

As each of the boys have their own terrifying encounters with Pennywise, they realize something is far wrong. As if this is not enough, they have to hide from the local chief bully Henry Bowers and his goon sidekicks Patrick and Victor. They terrorize the boys repeatedly, showing up when least expected.

 

The studious Ben is the one who discovers about Pennywise from library books and how children go missing with an interval of 35 years (?). He meets Pennywise too and runs out before it can get him.

 

How they find out where the Pennywise has his lair and how they go screwing up their courage to vanquish him is the rest of the story. They know that even if they did get the upper hand, it is only temporary and after the regular interval, he may return again. They make a blood bond and swear that they will all be back to face IT together if that happens.

 

Brilliant movie and picturization. Keeps you absorbed from the beginning to the end. If you have read the book you get the extra satisfaction of seeing the story come alive.

 

Nicely done. 8/10

 

—  Krishna

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February 10, 2018

Movie: Annabelle – Creation (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 4:02 pm

imageThis is supposed to be the prequel of the famous Annabelle story and narrates how Annabelle came to be. It has its tense moments and the director of this movie, David Sandberg,  is the same one that did the interesting film Lights Out earlier.  And the same sophistication shows here and the terror moments here are things where nothing happens and the characters in the movie and you wait for an impending attack that you know is going to happen.

 

This backstory has a backstory and it is all told in a wordless and poetic sequence. How the doll maker Samuel Mullins handcrafts a wooden toy for his only daughter Bee and she dies in an accident. The family never recovers and later, Samuel and wife Esther decide to invite an orphanage into the house as a charitable act. The orphanage was kicked out of their building due to their inability to pay. We find that the Mullins live in an ideal house for a horror story to happen: a creaking but sprawling house in the countryside, of course secluded from everything and everyone else.

In true horror picture style, they are given a run of the whole house except a locked room where they are forbidden to go. What will young children do when they are forbidden to go to a room? Especially in a horror story? Yup, one girl Janice – a crippled one at that – goes in when it was ‘accidentally’ left open one day.   She finds a key and opens, and comes face to face with Annabelle, the doll. Incidentally, the doll in this movie is not the Raggedy Ann doll that is supposed to be the real possessed doll but in a highly tongue in cheek reference to it, a Raggedy Ann doll is presented as a gift to a girl at the end of the movie when all the horror has been ‘resolved’. Nice.

But this doll does its spooky business very well so serves the purpose of the film, which is to scare the shit out of you. Janice is crippled, and after being thrown by the demon who has now been released, is confined to a wheelchair. When the demon takes over Bee, they find that she can walk and is ‘cured’ but is very strange in behaviour. The other girls, frightened now, confess to Samuel that Janice sneaked into the room but before he has a chance to do anything, Janice, possessed, kills him.

Samuel’s wife, Esther, is bedridden and when the girls meet her, they learn how Annabelle came to be. When Bee died, their parents conducted a séance and begged Bee’s spirit to talk to them. “Bee” asked them permission to occupy the doll and they happily agreed so that Bee can live with them even after their death. The invitation was enough for the spirit (occasionally in Bee’s form but otherwise in a true demonic form) to occupy the doll. When they realized their error (and losing an eye in the battle against it) Esther (and Samuel) have priests create a sealed room, with walls papered with pages of the Bible to seal the entity in, and keep the doll locked up in a cupboard and the room also locked. That is how Janice came by the room and the doll. Now we know the whole story.

What follows is a whole lot of attacks on the girls by the Janice-demon-Annabelle thing and a whole lot of jumpy sequences for you. They lock Janice in a room but when the police arrive, she has escaped and is far away in Santa Monica in an orphanage, calling herself Annabelle. She is adopted by the Higgins Family, thus setting the stage for the original movie.

Nice picturization, creepy moments, good acting. But still, somehow, this does not resonate as much with me since the theme is overworked in so many movies.

 

6/ 10

 

–  – Krishna

January 26, 2018

Movie: War For The Planet of The Apes (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:22 pm

imageWhat a brilliant movie! I thought that the reboot of the Planet of the Apes, the first movie which was released in 2004, Dawn of The Planet of the Apes was absolutely brilliant. When I heard that this sequel was coming out, initially I did not even want to see this because, in my mind, the first story is fully complete, with lovely characterizations and an ending that looks complete. (Can you remember Caesar and the almost equally impressive Koba?)  What else can be said of the story that has not been said in that movie.

 

But because the first movie was so impressive, I decided to give this a view and am glad I did. Because, it looks as if the story writers have plenty to say about that world. This story happens 15 years later than the first movie and is exhilarating right from the very first scene where the human army tries to ambush the ape troop and the fight that ensues. It does not let up until the very end.

 

The characters are as interesting. You see the turncoat ape Red (who is constantly humiliated by the humans – being called ‘donkey’ is the mildest of them) helping humans. When they lose and are captured, Caesar pardons them and sends them back, so that the humans can “learn” that the apes are peaceful creatures and want only to coexist with the humans, albeit segregated. That, as some of you would have suspected, dangerously backfires. The sudden attack by fortified human army is chilling and your sympathy is completely with the apes and against the humans – funny, considering that you are human. That is the magic of the film.

 

I can tell you more of the story – the story goes through mind boggling action sequences, hopelessness when troves of the monkeys and, later, Caesar himself is captured and how it ends – but that would spoil your enjoyment. Instead, I will talk about some of the movie features.

 

It is brilliantly written and directed. The sentences are short, sharp and delivered with effect. The characters are lovely. There are some apes (presumably not as evolved) that communicate by sign language and some that can speak.

 

The super villain in this movie is Colonel McCollough, played beautifully by Woody Harrelson. He seems to be four steps ahead of Caesar and his apes. He causes Caesar to lose family members in a surprise raid when the apes were sleeping and also later, as I said, is the cause of the troop’s capture.

 

The ‘thief’ of their kit, called Bad Ape is an interesting creature and is of invaluable help to the three lone apes searching to rescue their comrades, later. They realize that the Colonel himself has other human enemies and at the critical moment, a three way battle ensues. The storytelling, the scenes, the dialogs, the emotions all make it stand out as an outstanding movie. I will have no hesitation in declaring this as at least as good as the first movie. Well done, guys.

 

8/10

–  –  Krishna

January 6, 2018

Movie: Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 6:22 pm

imageI went to this movie with lowered expectations. After all, Despicable Me, the original, was phenomenally entertaining and when I heard that they were making a sequel, I thought they could not possibly top that. The original story had a tight beginning, middle and a nice ending, where Gru, the evil mastermind, finally decides to give up evil when he falls under the influence of the kids whom he adopts. It also had a crazy villain who was a nutcase and the fine twist in it was revealed when we discover whose son the villain was. All of it nicely tied into a neat package, where no loose ends were there to continue the story right?

The movie makers proved me wrong. Despicable Me 2 was even better. They upped the ante, the minions were literally riotously hilarious. Gru met Lucy, an amazing agent and fell in love. The only fly in the ointment was that the villain seemed to be a little soppy compared to the first. This was overcome with the help of the drug that caused superhuman (but evil) powers in whoever took it. Nice and lovely and I was impressed.

Then came the spinoff movie Minions. This is where everything hit the rock bottom. There was no coherent story, the characters aimlessly wandered, the villains (yes, multiple) were boring and tiring. The whole story seemed pointless.

So my conclusion was that these people have now run out of ideas and I went to see the third instalment with low expectations. Which was as well because, while this was a bit of a pleasant surprise, it is no match for the first two. A new character has to be introduced in Gru’s life (in addition to the mandatory supervillain) and here Gru is reunited with his more successful twin Dru, who is in awe of Gru’s awesome evil genius (from his past life of course) and wants Gru to join him on one last superheist.

 

We also have an equally funky supervillain, a child star has been who is so upset to have lost attention that he decides to take revenge on everyone by, yes, dominating the world.

There are some cute capers where the twins (one with full blond hair and the other… well, you know. But overall, it goes round in the comic path well-trodden by the previous installments of the franchaise.

Cute, but not great.

 

6/10

 

– – Krishna

December 28, 2017

Movie: Spiderman – Homecoming (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 1:53 pm

imageThis is another reboot on Spiderman. This takes a completely different tack. If you have read the comics, you will know that the Spiderman comics always has a different feel to it than Superman, Batman, or almost any other comic.

 

Spiderman comics always has some humour flowing right through it, with the self-deprecating Peter Parker kind of humble and even gauche in his own way unlike the supremely confident Iron Man or Batman or any other superhero really. This movie brings out the humour in loads. It also overdoes it, a little bit.

 

There is a deadly twist in this movie too, like Hollywood does in almost all of the fantasy movies (Be it fairy-tale told differently a la Maleficent, or even the famous Frozen, which is a great movie but so twisted from the original that someone had to tell me that it is basically the story of the Snow Queen!) And I think it is a good development because it makes the story that much more interesting; otherwise, however well done, it will be all gadgetry and special effects and not much more.

 

The story is about the boy Peter Parker (done well by Tom Holland  – I don’t mean to be unkind but so much better than Toby McGuire indeed). And here is the other thing; they skip over the part where Peter Parker (in the original comic book) got his powers by being bitten by a rare (genetically engineered? I don’t remember) spider. He simply is an apprentice of the Iron Man. Was this the case in the comics? With so much improvisation, I can hardly tell anymore.

 

The story takes off from the Captain America : Civil War where Tom Holland plays Spiderman too. Sidelined after the action, Peter Parker decides to go solo solving crimes, against the advice of his mentor Iron Man (reprised by Robert Downey Jr who has a sense of comic timing that keeps him famous in that role). After a few unintentional disasters when he was trying to do ‘the right thing’ he wants to stop. In the meanwhile his close friend Nat discovers his secret.

 

He tries to put it away but when he realizes that Liz, a girl in his school whom he has a great crush on (and refreshingly from a different race in conformance with the times), has a crush on Spiderman, he is conned into wearing the suit again, as Nat blabs that Peter ‘knows Spiderman well’. A lot of scenes are hilarious like the one where he finds that the web making fluid has run out and he has to literally run to catch up with a moving van instead of jauntily swinging from conveniently placed objects as he is wont to do usually.

 

The supervillain in this movie is Vulture, who hates Iron Man for costing him his job and also halting his research. He goes rogue with the superhuman technology that he has managed to smuggle out (Yes, this is a supehero movie; many people routinely invent/ come across/ inherit technology that can ‘wipe out the world’ or at least a small part of it.)

 

After some extremely spectacular stunts where Peter is saved by the timely arrival of Iron Man in some cases and making very mature choices to stand on the side of justice in spite of the fact that it hurts, Peter is finally acknowledged as a super hero inside as well as outside by Tony Stark, the Iron Man.

 

Nice story and nice twists and great visuals and action. (Not the jerking motion of camera in some of the older action movies that leave you confused and with some headache). But with all the hype, if your expectations are raised to the level that mine were, also mildly disappointing.

 

7/10

–  –  Krishna

December 21, 2017

Movie: Wonder Woman (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 11:04 pm

image.jpgThis one took the world by storm and launched Gal Godot, the Israeli actress into the world of US Sequels. Some of you may know that she won this solo role based on the smaller role she did as Wonder Woman in the earlier Batman vs Superman movie but based on the buzz that this one received, she is now one of the sought after stars, as they say ‘in the Hollywood firmament’.

 

But I have multiple gripes about this film. I confess that, even though I grew up reading comics so long ago, I have not read the Wonder Woman series when it came out as comics and so this movie may be truthfully following the comic books but I still do not like it. What am I complaining about? Mixing jingoism with a fast paced story. I know that some of you will point out that the entire existence of Captain America is jingoistic. That I can take. After all the entire army of Superheroes seem to make America their primary home and protecting other countries is just an incidental benefit when they primarily save Americans from evil forces. But at least they fight the supernatural villains. Here, the whole story is about fighting the Nazi Germans. They just gave a double twist – one of them being who is the real super villain who is orchestrating the whole thing; and the second, making that person a divine deity taking human form to deceive others.

 

In spite of this, this is all about an all American pilot Steve Taylor (played well by Chris Pine, he of the newly rebooted Star Trek series fame) and Diana aka Wonder Woman, who does not realize her own divinity until very late into the movie, played to perfection by Gal Godot. They battle the evil Germans to the bitter end, and also face Ares, the God who turned evil and wreaks destruction upon the whole world through Nazis, silently, until forced at the end to take on the elemental Super Villain form to battle it out one on  one with Wonder Woman.

 

The movie is fast paced enough. Well made with tight sequences with a faux evil man fronting all the time – and it is a genuine surprise when he (relatively) tamely dies in the hands of the Wonder Woman. Minutes later, we realize who the real deal is. This is a nice surprise!

 

Let us briefly think about the story. Diana grows up in an Amazonian island where God Zeus hid them to escape the wrath of  Ares, the fallen God (Shades of Satan, the fallen angel, right?) She learns to fight in spite of her mother’s reluctance because the mother realizes that the fight is coming with Ares and that only the God Killer, the special sword that they have as a gift from Zeus. She becomes superlative in her fight and unwittingly hurts her teacher through anger translate to a powerful blow. That is a hint to us about her supernatural abilities (as if we could not tell from the title of the movie) though she does not understand what it is. The fact of her supernatural origins is kept a secret from her. Of course.

She meets and falls in love with the pilot Steve Taylor when he and the Germans following him crash into the hidden Amazonian world. The Germans have guns and the women have only swords and arrows and predictably a slaughter ensues even though ultimately, by sheer expertise in war, the women win. One of the slain is the teacher, dear to Diana’s heart.

 

Diana leaves with Steve knowing that Ares is behind the evil force of the Nazis (huh? This is where I lost the ‘even cartoon world’ logic that they were trying to portray) and that she had to find and kill him. She of course takes the God Killer with her with her mother’s consent.

 

Hilarious scenes follow of her trying to understand modern American way of life – it is kind of predictable but still cute and endearing. They both predictably fall in love and in the end, she is left alone – no doubt to pursue or be pursued by suitable other romantic interests in the sequels.

 

Ares tests her to the limit and she almost gets killed a number of times, escaping by a hair’s breadth. So it is all interesting and fun but the nagging entanglement of the War and the Good Vs Evil still seems out of place in a superhero movie.

Good entertainment but I would give it a 6/10, perhaps shocking many of you.

–  –  Krishna

September 29, 2017

Movie: Storks (2016)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 11:47 pm

imageIn a world crammed full with animated movies each edgier than the other, a story about babies delivering starks? Will it work? You may be right to wonder. You start watching this movie with misgivings but then the story slowly pulls you in and insidiously absorbs you that within the first quarter of the movie, you are fully into the movie and start liking it. I would not claim that this is one of the best animated movies, and it is not, but it is very nice, lovely and the story is presented in a really great fashion that it leaves you with the feeling of having seen a good, entertaining movie.

 

The story is predicated on starks bringing babies. Hunter, a businessman, spots a chance to do a mass production of baby deliveries. Hunter is voiced by the ubiquitous Kelsey Grammer of the Frasier, Cheers and countless other shows. (He does them well, I grant you). The ‘factory’ is managed and owned entirely by storks. Yes, Hunter is one too. The only human there is Trudy, a relic from the past. But unfortunately Trudy is so clumsy that she is destructive. The job of firing her is assigned by Hunter to Junior, a young ambitious stork and the reward will be an instant promotion for the young Junior.

 

Junior meets Trudy and realizes that she is actually a good soul, kind and really dedicated. She just does not seem to be able to do anything right. Instead of firing her, Junior tells her that she has been reassigned to the mail room. There has never been a mail received in years. So she will be safely out of sight.

 

However, one letter does arrive. A lonely child ignored by very busy parents focused on their professional life writes to the factory begging them for a sibling for him. Trudy gets it and starts the baby factory. An alarmed Junior tries to stop her but it is too late, the baby has been made. Now he is in a panic and to save his job and to ensure that Hunter does not find out what he did with Trudy, he decided to secretly deliver the baby where it belongs and pretend none of this ever happened.

 

Since Junior’s wing is injured in the fracas, he needs a flying machine and Tulip volunteers to provide one and also fly it for him. Of course the first thing that happens is that they crash the plane!

 

As he travels with her, captured by wolves and escaping later, they get closer and Junior discovers that he really did not want the promotion. He also learn that Tulip really wants to track her own home to be with her parents.

 

Meanwhile, Hunter learns of the treachery through a stork envious of Junior (called Pigeon Toady, really a corny name in attempts of humour) and reprograms their beacon (which is really a GPS kind of device that tells them which house to go to deliver the baby).

 

How come Trudy was in the factory in the first place? She was a baby to be delivered but Jasper, the stork assigned to deliver her refused to, and destroyed the beacon, so she grew up there itself. He comes back now to save them from another Wolf pack attack.

 

After a ton of more misadventures, twists and turns all ends well for the duo and in the true animated movie style, they get everything: their deep friendship, ownership of the delivery business, Tulip’s real parents etc etc.

 

Nice.  7/10

– – Krishna

August 13, 2017

Movie: Get Out (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 8:40 pm

imageWhat an unorthodox movie! A movie that tackles race relations either goes down the serious path exploring the race question or is a film with all out African American characters and it just goes on with the story, sometimes in an exaggerated fashion. Here is one film that is refreshingly different. It is a horror but does not take itself seriously and just goes with the flow, with humour.

And this story has a punchline / twist that is extremely unusual. It bursts on you and I did not expect it at all because the twist is really a very unusual view on things and I bet you or at least 99% of you will not guess it either.

In addition to it they drop all kinds of clues on what is going on, with misdirection enough, like a finely crafted mystery thriller, which is what this is. I love the way they have developed the story, from the very first short scene to whet your interest to the final denouement.

Enough of a preamble? Let us see what the story is all about. First the small little preface I mentioned. An African American man called Dre is walking alone in the night. A car slowly follows him and he is creeped out. (Imagine this – an African American apparently stalked and spooked  From a stereotypical point of view, totally unexpected. See what I mean?) He then decides to change directions – it is a small street and the car cannot make a U turn.  After going several paces fast, he cannot resist turning back and seeing what happened to the car. It is now standing with the driver’s door open and a mediaeval knight has come out of it and is following him! (Yes, they mean a man in a knight’s costume). It is too late to run and he is attacked and his unconscious body is dragged into the car.

The main story is about photographer Chris Washington and Rose Armitage whose relationship has progressed to a point where Rose wants Chris to meet her parents. The problem is that Rose is white while Chris is black and he is very worried that her parents may not like it. Rose assures him that they are very liberal and would love him.  Even though he is the only black man she has dated so far, they will be  pretty cool with the idea.

He reluctantly agrees to go, against the advice of Rod Williams his closest friend who works for TSA not to go to ‘white people’s house’. He finds the family welcoming; if anything it is overly so. Strange things start happening to him slowly. The only black people he first meets are  servants in the house seem to be stiff and overly proper and look at him very strangely. He wonders if they are being kept under bondage but they do not seem to agree or is it that they do not want to confess?

And then there is the other black man who comes visiting. He seems to be married to a much older white woman and seems to have totally bought into the aristocratic life (never mind a white man’s life) with a hat and three piece suit at all times.

The father is all friendly. He is rich, a neurosurgeon but the mother strikes him as a bit cold. So when she offers to cure him of his smoking addiction through sheer hypnosis. He rejects it saying that he does not like people tooling around inside his head. Other friends of this family also seem very friendly.

When one of the maids behaves really oddly suddenly while pouring tea, the suspicions of Chris are aroused and then the other black gentleman who came to the party also “kind of goes crazy” when he was photographed by Chris. Chris is freaked out.  There are weird stuff like some of the friends admiring the “strength” of Chris and people praising the long distance runner Chris Owens showed up all those racist Nazis and beat out all the white folks in the Olympics.

 

Before he is aware of it, Chris is hypnotized by Rose’s mother, while he is still mocking the idea of hypnosis. Then the movie takes many scary turns and you watch Chris trapped, helpless and under every command of the family, losing consciousness.

He is freaked out when he finds his cell phone repeatedly unplugged when he is not in his own room. It is as if someone is trying to stop him from communicating outside.

When Chris and Rose agree that something weird is going on and that she should make up some excuse so that they can leave, we see an auction happening. The object of the auction? Chris himself. The auction is conducted by Rose’s dad, the neurosurgeon and the whole community seems to be bidding for him. For what?

If I tell you more, I will give it up. Trust me that the whole movie is one tense ride and you don’t relax for one little bit. And it all hangs together. Every little, weird, bit of it.

Daniel Kaluuya as Chris and his comic friend Rod played by LiRel Howery carry the whole movie well. But the real stars of this movie are the writers and the director, who present a splendidly crafted entertainer.

Don’t get me wrong. I did not say realistic; I did not say thought provoking; I said entertaining. If you keep your reasoning half of the brain quiet and just go along for the ride, there is not a boring moment.

The last line is phenomenally funny – when whatever is happening is all over.

 

8/ 10

–  –  Krishna

July 30, 2017

Movie: Split (2016)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 5:49 pm

imageAnother movie from M Night Shyamalan. While his movies typically have a split at the end of the movie, in this case, you understand the twist much earlier. Still this movie is an above average Shyamalan movie.

As we have mentioned in our review of The Visit, an earlier movie by him, he is seen to be erratic. The last few movies, including The Visit, have been encouraging. I like to think that there is a genuine shift in making more entertaining movies and that the ‘improvement’ is not because our expectations about his movies has plummeted.

This movie is good. In fact, it takes off from the beginning altogether. There is a very lonely and non social kid called Casey, who has been invited to the party of her friend. Claire. When her dad takes them both on his car, along with another kid called Marcia who was in the party, he is overpowered by a  stranger, who also chloroforms all the kids and takes them over to an isolated house. The entire story happens in that house, with the three kids being prisoners of this man.

We learn that the man is Kevin. This character has been played by James McEvoy – yes, the same actor who comes as the young Professor Xavier in the X-Men movies. This is definitely a different role for him.

Through Kevin’s psychiatrist, the elderly Dr Karen Fletcher, we learn also that Kevin suffers from multiple personality syndrome, rather a very advanced form of it. Inside him are Hedwig, a kid, Barry, a sketch artist, a lady etc. There are actually 23 personalities there. The fun part is that the kids, and through them we, get to see many of them (all acted by McEvoy, for which, for a while there was a buzz that this may be an Oscar worthy performance – however, in the end, he did not even get a nomination).

Shyamalan makes a cameo as always as the assistant of the doctor but the main movie is about how Casey survives and we also learn why she was also so socially awkward. As a child, she suffered sexual abuse at the hand of an uncle, who ended up becoming her foster father when her father died prematurely.

Then Kevin reveals to his doctor that there is another identity called The Beast.

The entire movie is one of the indefatigable Casey planning to escape, nearly making it and either Kevin or Dennis or Barry catching up to them. Her persuading Hedwig, who is only ‘9 years old’ into helping her and then last minute, Kevin or Barry catching them at it.

Nice. There is also a pseudo science where it says that if the person believes that he is strong, the body adopts to become really strong and Karen quotes a ton of authentic looking studies to ‘prove that it is true’. You wonder why and it becomes clear towards the Climax where The Beast really comes in when all seems to be lost for Kevin.

Be as incredulous you like to be, this is a bit too much to swallow.

But if you keep your disbelief suspended and just enjoy it as a movie, it becomes then an interesting story, with an ending that holds together and keeps your interest until the end.

 

7/ 10

–  – Krishna

July 16, 2017

Movie : Wreck It Ralph (2012)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:42 pm

imageCall me simplistic but I think I am easily pleased.

 

This movie in all rights should not appeal to me. It is a spin off on old 80’s game characters and the plot is a hackneyed one that has been written and told millions of times to young children. A bad character in a game who does not like being bad and wants to be good. Oh so old.

 

But, here is the thing. The movie appeals to me. The dialog, the sequences and the composition all blend seamlessly, and though it does not have the voice talents of A-list stars (with due apologies for John C Reilly and Sarah Silverman), the emotions and actions and dialog all hang together to create a pleasant experience.

 

Mind you, I say pleasant, not spectacular.

 

Ralph is jealous of Fix It Felix, the good guy in the game. He, Ralph, is always wrecking things and creating havoc whereas Felix is the epitome of the good guy, who can fix anything.

 

Ralph seeks help in Bad Anonymous, and explains how his self esteem is low after 30 years of being bad. He does not want to be bad anymore but other members advise him that he is designed to be bad, and if he turns good, he will wreck the game he inhabits.

 

He is determined to win a medal for heroism and thereby prove his good intentions and skills, Ralph sees a chance when he meets a soldier in a bar who is from the game Hero’s Duty whose nerves are shot hunting Bugs in the game. When Ralph hears that there is a medal at the end, he takes the soldier’s armor and his place in the game.

 

The story gets confusing from here. Ralph skips from game to game while in Fix It, they find that Ralph is missing. The game is frozen with an Out of Order sign and all the game characters are terrified that if Ralph does not come back, the plug will be (literally) pulled and that they will all lose their lives. They go in search of Ralph.

 

After a ton of cat and mouse chase, Ralph finally teams up with another character from a different game. She is Vanellope. They together get the medal from a racing game.

 

Well, there is a ton more that happens but it is all too episodic to narrate. Consider the release of the evil Cy-bugs in an accident and their getting into Candy Land and sugar rush makes them multiply – they have the capacity to wreck all games. Consider Vanellope being a glitch in the game herself and not part of the original game. Consider Felix on his hunt for Ralph, being imprisoned by the Mad King.

 

All said and done, Ralph finally appreciates that the work he does is very much appreciated and he does not have to be a good guy to get kudos.

 

Nicely told, better than it sounds here.  6/10

 

– – Krishna

 

 

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