bookspluslife

October 7, 2018

Movie : Crazy Rich Asians (2008)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 1:07 am

imageI admit I have not read the book and so do not know how faithful to the book the movie is.  Also, I suppose I have an ordinary man’s tastes because usually I completely agree with the popular opinion (let us say the Rotten Tomatoes rating for instance) of whether the movie is good or not.

 

But occasionally, I am at odds with the popular opinion and fail to see what the adulation is all about. It happened to me for Slumdog Millionaire as I hated the movie which everyone else seemed to love. It happened to me when I read the book version of The Life of Pi.

 

Now this movie has the same sense of puzzlement. I am scratching my head and seeing ‘Why all the hype?. Because, this movie simply does not make sense.

It is supposed to be a romantic comedy but all of it looks crazy. What it is trying to tell me is that  Asians in Singapore of Chinese origin can be as ostentatious and money crazy as any westerner. They can be snobbish, they can be ‘protective of their culture’ while dancing to western songs and wearing western clothes, to all intents and purposes fully westernized while flaunting their culture.

As for actors, it is amazing how many of the stars are Malaysian – the hero Henry Golding and the mother in law, Michelle Yeoh  (Yes, she of the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon fame(

And please do not underestimate their power on the basis of what you think of them in the 1950s because some of them may end up owning the hotel from which you, as a senior manager, are trying to evict them.

 

The biggest stuff here is how a poor Asian from America confronts the snobbish Asians, ‘fearlessly’ explaining that her mother was a single parent and brought her up doing menial jobs.

 

There come scene after scene of unseemly opulence, she being first surprised and then totally taking them for granted. She then ‘graciously’ turns down a proposal from her boyfriend so that ‘he will not separate him from his parents’ even though these self same parents treated her like dirt.

Even the comic relief is very western and fairly stupid with a gaudy palace like an old imperial palace with comic book characters as the comic friend’s relatives.

The story is simple. Rachel Yu, the clueless daughter of a single parent (and who on the other hand is highly accomplished professor of psychology) agrees to go to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family, not knowing that he is one of the richest families (“old money”) and is a highly sought after bachelor in Singapore with every unmarried girl dreaming of marrying him.

He plunges her into his world with absolutely no preparation and not even a background about anyone saying just ‘You will do fine’. Great. They find her strange. ‘You are not like us. You are an American’.

Even the happy forever, mild mannered matriarch of the family (though apparently with no powers) goes berserk when they find out that she was a bastard child.

The girl Rachel shows them up and finally gets her man. Enough said.

The movie showcases Singapore (mainly the streets and the street style food) and is a continuous depiction a la ‘Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous’ series that was so popular in the seventies(?).

 

Even the comedy is fully snobbish.

 

Really don’t see what the hype is all about. Sorry

 

2/10

–  – Krishna

Advertisements

October 1, 2018

Movie: Searching (2018)

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

imageWhat an interesting movie! There are multiple things to tell you about this movie before we even get into the story. First, the hero : There seems to be a trend of all sitcom and comedy movie stars to move to serious roles.

First it was Bryan Cranston who made the switch memorably in Breaking Bad. Yes, before that Jim Carey tried to do the same switch with miserable results – maybe he was ahead of his time? No, because, in British Television, Patricia Routledge made the switch from the hilarious Hyacinth in Keeping Up Appearances to the equally appreciated serious detective role in Hetty Wainthrop Investigates. Not to mention  Ed O’Neill who successfully made the move to Law & Order, and later, to the West Wing. And yes, Bryan himself he made the transformation  through a small role in X files that showcased his serious side. Then recently, we mentioned John Krasinski making the move in a prominent fashion in A Quiet Place.

Now John Cho has made a similar transformation from the comedy film series of Harold and Kumar.  He too made the change via the role of Sulu in Star Trek but still the performance in this is impressive.

 

The second surprise is that this movie takes place completely on either a laptop, or a tablet or a cell phone. There is not a single scene that is shown outside of the frame. Which is a phenomenal feature. And everything is shown in detail. You know how they use all the social media, including how they recover a lost password, how to send money through Venmo etc. Nice. Except that the computers and other gadgets perform flawlessly and instantly, unlike mine which often buffers and behaves unpredictably.

Also in this movie is Debra Messing, of the Will and Grace fame. But the story is all about John Cho’s character, David Kim. He finds his daughter has gone missing and when he digs deep he finds that he did not know his daughter. A sympathetic investigator who comes to help him suggests that youngsters sometimes run away and he is devastated, saying ‘I don’t know my daughter’. Ever since his wife died of lymphoma, his daughter has withdrawn into a shell and he is surprised to find that she had no friends and struggled to fit in.

 

The anguish of the father comes through very well and there are touching and kind of funny moments where her friends shun her until she becomes a news item when they turn to be ‘her best friends’. There are also lots of twists and turns and how he slowly unravels the mystery is phenomenal. It is also real where he initially writes a flame email to his daughter when he ‘learns’ that she had gone camping without telling him and then reconsiders and rewrites it.

The fact that he never gives up and also the fact about his week smoking brother all come together in a nice way.

What happened to his daughter? It is an amazing twist and I do not want to reveal it. How he recognizes small clues about his brothers shirt, about the detective herself and how he gets to the bottom of it all are fantastic.

 

I know I am not saying much but the story is interesting and very well presented in a fashion that keeps the tension alive all the way through.

Worth seeing, for sure.

 

8/10

–  –  Krishna

July 28, 2018

Movie : Ant Man and the Wasp (2018)

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

imageThey have found their style! The Ant Man series pokes fun constantly while trying to tell a story and Paul Rudd in the leading role fits right in. And the whole package somehow works, and works well.

 

There is a ton of impossible blather still there – a man shrinking down to the quantum level (Yeah? How? Humans – forget about the dress that they are still wearing – are made up of atoms. If they shrink to anything less than atomic size, their brains and anything else will cease to exist. But you learn not to ask these kind of questions during a Marvel movie because you want to enjoy the show. You know it is pure entertainment and is not there for your education)

 

). Plenty of cool effects like shrinking of a whole building (with an inexplicable handle and wheels to safely wheel it away) or expanding Pez Dispenser and other stuff. Also a whole pile of “Ant’s eye view” experiences (like knives thrown at people etc). There is a new villain (with whom you can indeed sympathize) in the form of (again unbelievable)

 

 

I liked (moderately it would seem) the first Ant Man. However, I have no hesitation in ranking this much higher in my scale of liking. The movie starts with the scientist Hank Pym (played again by Michael Douglas) telling his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lily) that there may be a way to bring his wife back from the quantum realm where she was lost in the first movie.

 

But Scott Lang (aka Ant Man) is under house arrest (a follow on and reference to Captain America) and is no longer free to help. He is indeed playing with his daughter with an enormous sliding tube etc constructed with the help of his now idle firm and assistants (Luis primarily, played with elan by Michael Pena).  Humour is sprinkled right through, with Loo, the detective in charge in FBI investigation, becoming impossibly obsessed and impressed with the sleight of hand card tricks of Scott Lang during the investigation.

 

When Scott gets a dream that can only be surely sent by Hank’s wife, he gives a call to Hank and Hank is stunned. Now he needs Scott and he gets him by tranquilizing him and kidnapping him. He shows the new Quantum Tunnel he is building and he needs one final part that only is there with a shady dealer Sonny Burch. Hope goes incognito to get it from him as he has sold her previously other parts, thinking that her name is Susan and these are innocuous purchases by an ordinary woman. When he refuses to sell it to her (since he now knows who she is and why she wants it) she tries to pry it by fighting as a Wasp. Cool scenes of her running across knives thrown at her follow. Really good to watch, says the child in you.  As she is about to succeed a ghost knocks her down and disappears with the part. This is Eva who is disintegrating without protection and needs to go back to quantum realm to regain her solidity. (See what I mean about impossibility?)

 

She also steals the lab which means Hank has lost everything. He seeks the help of his old partner Bill Foster (Laurence Fishbourne) and it turns out that this man is helping Ava anyway. They are tied up by Ava when they try to sneak into her house where she has kept the lab.

Using Ants in an Altoids box (don’t ask) they manage to get the lab back and also escape.

 

There are many more scenes where the car shrinks and grows and Ant Man grows to a giant size to get the lab back and also fights off Ava. Finally all ends well and Hank’s wife returns and also helps Ava.

 

Great fun to watch and a brilliant mix of comedy and action.

 

8/ 10

 

–  – Krishna

 

 

 

 

 

July 14, 2018

Movie: Hereditary (2018)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 11:22 am

imageHereditary is a weird movie. First of all, I rely, like most of you probably, on the Wikipedia of movies, Rotten Tomatoes to review ratings as I find that my tastes and generic audience tastes largely coincide. Sometimes it does not. This is one of those times. When I saw the rating at the time of going to the movie it was 98% (and has now slid to a still very respectable 89%). I think it is overrated. The other movie where I was similarly fooled was the Bridge to Terabithia, so long ago.

 

To be fair though, Rotten Tomatoes shows the critic’s score as 89% but the audience score is only 58% and so perhaps it has not gotten it so wrong after all.

 

This movie is supposed to be a creepy horror but just comes out weird. The central character Peter, played by Alex Wolff is wooden and lifeless and even the animations (God, the scene where the girl serenely floats up to the treehouse) could have been done in any off the shelf image editor by a twelve year old boy. Add a lot of silver paint and naked people in it, standing mute and watching the others (supposedly menacingly) and you get the ‘creepy atmosphere’ that they were going for.

 

The central theme is also totally stupid and seems to have been stitched together in a hurry.

 

What is the story, such as it is? Disjointed scenes, strung together. An old woman (Peter’s grandmother) dying and Peter seeing her keeping her eyes open; a bird crashing into a window and similar stuff. No link to anything else in the story after.

 

The only place where there seems to be a story is where the sister of Peter is forced on him to go to a party because the parents (correctly) suspect that it is an underage drinking party with teenage sex and drugs involved and then this kid, who is severely allergic to nuts eats a cake with nuts and goes into deep anaphylactic shock.

 

Instead of dialling 911 the brother packs her into the back seat of the car and tries to drive home. Right. And also has an accident. OK. And she dies. Great. Then the story goes into weird directions again, its brief coherence lost forever.

 

The father, mother try to cope with the shock while Peter seems to be curiously unconcerned. Not intentionally by the writers but it seems like that to the viewers.

 

The mother creates a panorama (which is what she does for a living) and a private one depicting the accident and the sister’s death. Hmm.

 

While she reluctantly attends a group therapy for her shock, Peter’s mom Annie meets joan, who also lost a loved one and forces her to go to a weird séance. And then the movie takes a cult turn where the dead are looking for a new heir to the throne and… need I go on?

 

The cast looks humdrum and the sister especially does not look or act the part.

 

Full of meaningless jumble, in my opinion.

 

2/10

July 8, 2018

Movie: Avengers – Infinity War (2018)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 11:50 am

imageWe have reviewed some Avengers movies earlier – Avengers : The Age of Ultron and The Avengers – but this one is different from them all.

 

For one thing, this seems to include practically every superhero in the comic character universe owned by Disney. In addition to almost all of the Marvel Avenger stable including the recent additions like Spiderman, Black Panther and Dr Strange, it brings in also Antman and the entire cast of the other series The Guardians of the Galaxy as well. Before even seeing the movie, I wondered how on earth they are even going to give screen space to each one and still weave a credible story. After seeing the movie and with some inputs from my friends which helped me understand, I realize now that the real story in this movie is not at all about the superheroes. The movie is all about the villain Thanos, superbly portrayed by Josh Brolin.

 

This is supposed to be the first part of a two part series and it shows. More of it later.

 

Second, the villain is not really a villain in the usual superhero comic sense of the word (I know, I know. The original comics portray Thanos the same way but when I mean ‘the usual’ sense, I mean generic comic villains).  He is not conspiring to take over the world. He is simply interested in protecting the earth, ridding it of the overpopulation. Also he wants to be completely fair, just taking half the population of the world in a completely random, and therefore the most justified, fashion.

 

The entire galaxy of superheroes want to stop him since destruction of humankind is still destruction, however justified it maybe. In that sense, you don’t know which side is ‘good’ and which side is ‘evil’ if you stop to ponder about it. Interesting.

 

The other thing that would surprise and even shock you is the ending, which blew my mind away until (again thanks to friends who reminded me) I stopped to ponder those old comic books where this kind of thing happens all too often. As to the question ‘How are they going to get out of it?’ the answers could be twofold : ‘Think of the next comic books in the series’ or ‘Do you remember how damaged the Gauntlet was in the last scene? Therein may lie the clue’. Take your pick.

 

The movie has some surprises a la ‘The Game of Thrones’. When Loki gets killed (yes, actually killed) at near the start of the movie, you gasp. But more surprises abound, especially near the end.

 

The story is very simple. Thanos wants to save the world by, as we already said, killing half the population of humans at random – but needs to fill his Infinity Gauntlet with the five super stones that are in various places in the world. He collects them one by one, overcoming superhero resistance, and collecting the stones. At the start of the movie, he already has acquired Power Stone from the planet Xandar. He acquires the Space Stone from Asgaard. His lieutenants go for the Time Stone in New York, drawing Dr Stange, Iron Man and Spider Man into opposition.

 

The Mind Stone is buried on the forehead of Vision, and Thanos and crew even go after that, no matter that Wanda Maximoff is protecting him. He goes after the Reality Stone, drawing the Guardians of the Galaxy into his formidable group of enemies. (Thor keeps calling Rocket ‘rabbit’). Thanos gets Soul Stone sacrificing his own daughter to get at it.

 

Strange surrenders Time Stone to protect Iron Man, who is seriously wounded by Thanos, even after Iron Man begs him not to do so and let him die.

 

The final vision stone requires overpowering the Wakandans and the superheroes. Thanos is wounded but still manages to get the Vision Stone.

 

The ending is spectacular, including the small bit at the end of the subtitles. The second part should definitely be interesting, whenever it comes.

 

Another nice work by Disney. They really know how to make great films (yes, commercial, purely entertaining and rarely informative; I know all that, but for pure entertainment, they get full marks. Rarely do they fall flat, like for instance the latest Star Wars episode Solo.)

 

Good work.   8/10

–  – Krishna

May 27, 2018

Movie: Pacific Rim – Uprising (2018)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 12:23 pm

imageThis is the sequel (and second in what is probably going to be a series) in the Pacific Rim theme.

 

Interesting to see that John Boyega, of the Star Wars fame establish himself as an actor to consider for Hollywood Sci Fi genre. In this movie too he has a meaty role. Nice.

 

He is a crook – the son of the Commander in the first move Stacker Pentacost but is disillusioned with the Jaegar troops and turns to unscrupulous trading and cheating to survive. When he goes hunting for the core that he can trade with a few of his accomplices, he realizes that it is he who is in a trap because the accomplices confront him with past cheating and he realizes also that they plan to dispose of him once the core is given to them. He finds the core missing but manages to evade his co-cheaters turned enemies and goes after the core stealer, who just happened (Oh, year, right, you say?) to be running away with the prize. He catches up with her – Amara Namani.

Both of them get caught and Jake’s past reputation as a superb pilot makes Mako Mori, the General Secretary (and Jake’s adopted sister – another Oh yeah, right, moment) offer them the way out of prison – by training new cadets in the new generaton Jaegars. (Oh, if you have seen neither of these movies, a Jaegar is a large exoskeleton you run (with two people in the first movie but a short little one invented by Amara needs only one person – rather like the exoskeleton in the Aliens movie but with more technological details).

 

There is a biker gang like girl called Vik among the cadets who hates Amara on site and there are the usual Hollywood training and rivalry scenes to keep the drama going.

 

The company in charge (Shao Corporation) sends two executives, including a research head, Newt Geizler. He is a brash, all-knowing type who keeps getting in the way until a twist makes him worth paying close attention to.

 

There is a lot of drama where the breach that sealed in the Kaijus are released, the new exoskeletons are now operated by Kaiju brains and therefore their own weapons are turned against them, a lot of heroics by the good band.

Mako dies (not a huge suspense, so I can reveal it) and despite being kicked out of the Jaeger pilot force Amana manages to save the day (would you believe it) using her tiny one person Jaegar that she herself built.

 

Interesting stuff, worth watching. But spectacular? No!

6/10

 

–  –  Krishna

May 6, 2018

Movie: Black Panther (2018)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 3:05 pm

imageThe buzz on this movie is incredible. They say that this smashes the stereotypical beliefs or myths of the Hollywood movie making – which is that a movie mainly centred on black people cannot succeed in the worldwide box office. This did and also has an African American director to boot.

 

It is interesting to note that another myth – that if the woman is the central character of a movie, it will not succeed – was also supposed to have been recently blown apart by the super success of Wonder Woman.

 

I have these ‘supposed to’ etc only because I was not aware of these myths before they came into prominence after the two movies were released.

 

But what is not a myth is that Disney rules the box office world today. All top grossers, including the above two, were made by Disney. And add to it the fact that Disney owns Pixar, Lucas Studios in addition to Marvel and also makes its own movies like Frozen, and they are the King of Hollywood today.

 

This movie is good. Very good. And like a friend of mine said (which I agree with) ‘For the first time we actually identify with the reason the super villain turned bitter and wants revenge’. Really. Usually the villains are simply for World Domination of World Destruction  (beautifully parodied as Dr Evil and Mini Me in Austin Powers series) but here is a young man who was left with broken dreams. (OK, the Incredibles also had a villain with a genuine grouse but most do not).

 

The story is one of a supermetal called Vibranium, which fell in Africa and kept in Wakanda by the warrior who becomes the original “Black Panther”.

 

King T’chaka is now the descendent ruling Wakanda and he learns of Prince N’Jobu, living in the US (where else?) and thinks that Vibranium should be shared with all citizens of African descent to ‘overcome their suppression’. He plans to even steal one with the help of a half crazed smuggler Ulyssis Klaue (brilliantly played by Andy Serkis) he confronts the prince and when that turns violent and threatens to cost the life of his loyal aide Zuri (Forrest Whittaker) he reluctantly kills him. Shamed about the violence, he decides to abandon N’Jobu’s son Erik to his fate so that the rest of Wakanda will not hear what he had to do.

 

When T’chaka dies, his son T’Challa becomes the Black Panther and King, and is the central protagonist in the movie.

 

Killmonger, a person who tries to steal Vibranium defeats the king and nearly kills him. Restored, he comes back with the help of other tribes to battle and win back the throne as the official Black Panther.

 

Originally I thought Ulyssis is the classic supervillain and was surprised when he was killed off early in the movie. We then realize that Killmonger is the super villain and we understand the twist that makes him oppose the Black Panther (and nearly triumph) we understand.

 

There are a lot of delightful twists on the way including amazing car chases and heroics on American roads, and also a lot of duels (Before Killmonger, there is a rival M’Baku, whom he bests in an armed combat.

 

Keeps you on the edge of the seat. Nicely made.

 

8/10

–  – Krishna

April 8, 2018

Movie: Coco (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 4:18 pm

imageI generally do not like movies about dead people and skeletons and even movies admired by people like The Corpse Bride or The Nightmare Before Christmas leave me cold. I am aware that many people loved and love these movies, but I am only talking about my personal preferences here. So it is with reluctance and not much of an expectation about my enjoying this movie did I go see this movie.

 

What also motivated me is that, when the plot is right, what an amazing work Pixar does with its characters. Who can be not moved by their best –  Up which both moves and delights you, the Invincibles which creates an entire new look on superheroes, Monster’s Inc which is such a classic and many more? Even if some of their movies were not really up there (Inside Out comes to mind in the latter category).

 

I was pleasantly surprised. Not only is this movie a thoroughly enjoyable ‘dead people’ movie but in fact one of the best animated movies of recent times, period. Brilliantly animated, brilliantly narrated, woven together with a nice surprise near the middle of the tale, it is purely scintillating and keeps you absorbed all the way through. Lovely, wonderful work.

 

Let us look at the story. Imelda Rivera’s wife is distraught when her husband leaves her and her three year old daughter Coco to pursue a music career. He promises to be back soon and take them when he has found his feet. When he never returns, her anxiety turns to burning fury and she banishes all of his memorabilia from the house. She even cuts out his head from the photo of their family with little Coco in the hand.  All ancestors (including the headless husband – since Imelda’s only photo is the one where she is there) are present in the annual ancestor’s day so that they may be remembered. Another banishment from the house is any kind of music in the house, so bitter is she.

 

Ninety six years pass (and the story really begins here). Coco now is an old lady who is frail and is nearly at the end of her life. Her grandson Miguel, who is now twelve, finds himself loving music which attracts him irresistibly and is desperate to hide it from his own family. He idolizes Ernesto de la Cruz, the singing sensation a long time ago (during Coco’s time).

 

One day, out of curiosity, he tries to take the photo of his headless father and breaks the frame. Terrified, he gets rid of the frame and pulls out the photo. He discovers the photo is folded to fit to the frame. When he opens it he sees that even in the family photo, his dad was holding a guitar.

 

When he later goes to visit Ernesto’s museum, he discovers to his amazement that the unique pattern on the guitar was the same as the one hanging in Ernesto’s museum and realizes with a shock that he must be Ernesto’s great grandson!

 

Miguel is now determined to enter the talent show on the Day of the Dead, a Mexican celebration of the ancestors. He has no guitar, though. He decided to steal Ernesto’s guitar for the ceremony but falls down in the attempt. When he finally retrieves it, and goes to the ceremony, no one there can see him! The only people who can are dead ancestors who visit the place (as they are allowed to, only on the Day of the Dead). He realizes that he is now partly in that place. He is being punished for stealing Ernesto’s guitar. He finds himself slowly turning into a skeleton. Before sunrise, if he does not get the blessing from one of the dead ancestors of his, he will fully turn into a skeleton and cannot ever go back home.

 

What is a dog doing in the posters? It is the only one who can see him in this altered state and also follow him wherever he goes.

 

His great grandmother Imelda finds him there (glorious, mind boggling animation to the Land of the Dead and beyond; Pixar really knows how to amp it way, way up!) and offers to give him pardon on one condition: He should give up music forever. He refuses and runs away, in hot pursuit by his own family to catch and convince him. He makes an ally of a down on his luck dead skeleton Hector, who promises to take him to Ernesto, if he takes Hector’s picture to his daughter when Miguel goes back: Only those who are remembered in earth can go there on the Day of the Dead and Hector is afraid that the only person alive will forget him and he will fade away. Flashes of such fading already are occurring and he is completely frazzled. Miguel agrees and they both go in search of Ernesto.

 

When Hector attempts to double cross Miguel and send him back to Miguel’s (dead) family, Miguel escapes him and meets Ernesto who accepts him as his great grandson. But Hector appears there, and accuses him of stealing everything from Hector – his songs, his tunes, and also of poisoning Hector. Ernesto captures and jails them both, and also takes the only hope of Hector, his picture, away from Hector.

 

The twist in the story and how Miguel wins the affections of his father and also reunites the family is the rest of the story. It may be obvious to some of you but there is a massive twist in the story that makes you gasp and you realize that the entire plot is cleverly constructed to aid the misdirection that they intend you to make.

 

Lovely, lovely. Amazing dialogues, heartwarming scenes – all characters ring true and you can identify with every one of them. Imelda, Miguel, Coco, everyone really.

 

One of the brilliant movies from Pixar, on par with some of their best. Well done!

 

 

9/ 10

 

– – Krishna

March 31, 2018

Movie: Star Wars the Last Jedi (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:54 pm

imageThis caused waves again when it came out and they were talking about it seemingly for a very long time.

 

I have mixed views about this film. They have been faithful to the elements of Star Wars where the story seems to have background characters that are a veritable multi-planet zoo of animals and humanoid forms that are beyond our normal imaginings and here too they are there. Who can forget the ‘cows’ out of which old Luke Skywalker obtains his milk?  But then there are portions of the movie which has more of the feel of the other cult classic, Star Trek. So the lines being a bit blurred caused, in my mind at least, some confusion.

 

There is less of the original silliness where in the middle of a huge showdown between the forces of good and evil, a small child, or an inexperienced man, or something else like that just goes in seemingly impervious to all the assaults and manages to destroy the critical infrastructure of the bad guys. But it is still there. In case you forgot it is Star Wars, I guess.

 

For all that, you are enthralled in parts and realize why this series is such a cult classic. The scene where Luke comes alone to defend a fortress in siege when everything seems nearly lost is amazing, and the ending (how was he able to escape their reaches) is breathtaking. And there is, of course a twist near the end, which I will not reveal, keeping in line with my policy of not providing any spoilers if I can help it but diehard fans would find it significant.

 

Supreme Leader Snoke is an interesting character and how he meets his end is also very nicely told.

 

The story is one of the general Star Wars where the Jedi are in constant siege from the Empire’s forces (this time under the leadership of Snoke). The next generation Darth Vader is of course Kylo Ren, who is the son of Hans Solo and killed his father (that seems to be a tradition in the Star Wars world) in the first movie after Disney takeover. The twist is the Snoke distrusts Kylo, suspecting his loyalty.

 

Rey comes in search of Luke and pleads with him when she finds him in retirement in an isolated island. He is totally reluctant to do anything more and wants to be left in peace.

 

The scene where Finn, trying to steal a pod to go rescue Jedis is found out by Rose Tico who helps him find a code breaker to help. And there are interesting twists with the code breaker – how they find him, how he agrees to help – and a surprising double cross. The deception makes sense when you think about it afterwards but came as a bombshell to me at least. Maybe I am too gullible when it comes to movies, who knows?

 

Rey learning from the master Luke after he changes his mind a bit and agrees to teach here are all good, but remind you of some earlier Hollywood movies nevertheless.

 

Also nice are the scenes where Kylo and Rey try to convince the other to desert their side and join the other person’s side. Powerful scenes, these.

 

When all seems lost, and they are surrounded and Kylo is ready with an overwhelming army to destroy them all, Luke appears and saves them to flee and fight another day. (And keeping the door open for another movie).

 

As you can see, there are a number of lovely bits to see and enjoy. Definitely a fun ride.

 

7/10

 

–  – Krishna

March 18, 2018

Movie : Ferdinand (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 6:57 pm

imageWell, the animation is superb and the characterization, in parts, is not bad at all. It has all the (now formulaec) elements that tug your heart.  A giant but gentle bull that eschews the family tradition for which his father and ancestors lived and wants to find a ‘better way’. The evil bull that is both jealous of the strength of the central character (yes, it is a bull; yes, it is Ferdinand) and contemptuous of the pusillanimity of the beast.

 

It has cuteness in the form of a girl who loves Ferdinand and sees into his soul and not just the frighteningly big physical form. It has a crazy goat called Lupe that is so endearing (adorable voice work by Kate McKinnon) that helps him. It has features where he wins over previously antagonistic fellow bulls one by one.

 

Still, it does not rise to the level of Frozen or other great movies. There is something that is missing in the total package. At least for me. Don’t get me wrong; this is definitely a good movie to watch but is it a great movie to remember for a long time? There I have my doubts.

 

This is based on a series of children’s books. Ferdinand, as a young calves are just dying to see which is the next bull that would be lucky enough to be picked to fight a matador. When Ferdinand’s dad is chosen, he is thrilled and waits for him to come back victorious but the dad never comes back. Ferdinand cannot fathom why.

 

Now, he also has a gentle heart, trying to protect a young sapling on the grounds from the other boisterous bulls and is bullied by other calves, primarily Valiente, a ‘bull’y and his sidekicks Gaupo and Bones.

 

Finally, when he gets the chance, he runs away and finds a lovely family – consisting of a florist called Juan and his daughter Nina and their dog Paco – who bring him up as their own.

 

Ferdinand goes to the flower festival every year with them and loves it but when he grows big, Nina tells him he cannot come with them because he is too big. He disobeys and sneaks in by himself, only to be caught and sent back to his original ranch.

 

The rest of the story describes how he copes there, how he himself gets picked by the ranch to fight the most famous matador of all times and how it all ends nicely.

 

You get to meet other characters along the way : the three hedgehogs (who try to teach Ferdinand how to ‘stealthily’ go across the ranch in a hilarious sequence), three horses who seem to have a French accent and snooty manners to match, and many others.

 

There is also a tongue in cheek reference when Ferdinand goes into a China shop and tries to tiptoe around a half blind old lady minding the shop.

 

As I said, not a bad movie – just a fun ride that is worth watching if you don’t mind yet another movie with clichés and growing up and making friends among strangers.

 

6/10

– – Krishna

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: