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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

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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

March 10, 2018

Movie: Before Sunset (2004)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 7:32 pm

imageLook, I went to see this blind. What does that mean? Let me explain. This is supposed to be the sequel to Before Sunrise where the t

 

wo protagonists (Jesse and Celine) met and fell into a one night stand which was really love and they did not understand it then. That movie ended with a question mark on whether he will find her in Vienna in six months as she promised. He waits in in the designated spot in Vienna, and the movie ends with no answer to that question. But I did not see that movie. If you see this movie without seeing the first one (never mind my question : ‘Why would you want to see either?’ which is implied in my review below) you would not miss the previous story. They make it abundantly clear like in game shows (In a ‘Previously on BIG BROTHER….’ sort of way).

 

The cute thing is that this is a sequel that happens nine years after the events in that movie and they have made this precisely nine years after that movie, and with the same lead pair. (Ethan Hawke as Jesse and Julie Delphy) so there is no need to age them through make up. They have naturally aged to the right age!

I should admit that I was captivated in the first 10 minutes. He has written a book about his experiences and is signing off books and a reading in a book store in Paris where she drops in unexpectedly. Then they catch up on all that happened in nine years since they parted. Of course, they have to reveal that she did not come to Vienna. In the meantime, he has married, has children and has moved on with his life. Or has he?

Quickly it turns into just conversations about their lives, their interests, her house, her tea making and finally what happened and why she did not come to Vienna that day. Only half way through the movie you realize that, probably just like the first one, there is no great story and this is simply dancing around an incident that happened in their lives; yes, romantic, no doubt; yes, left a deep impression in their mind, surely. And yes, that probably was love, though neither can face it and say so, even after nine years.

But how much can you drag this ruminant mastication without boring the audience? Not surely as long as they have done in this movie. Also, they leave it in a yawn inducing uncertainty : Will they throw everything (he is married and she did not marry so there is not that much to throw away for her) and get together again? We will never know because after another 9 years after this movie was made (2013 it would have been) there was no sequel. Perhaps they had finally figured out that making touchy feely movies with no story in it is not a winning proposition.

The story? Really, there is nothing. They walk through a café, near his car, through a Paris marker, to her apartment and she entertains him with a guitar. Satisfied?

Unless you are a sucker for meaningless sentimentality, you can skip this movie safely.

2/10

–  –  Krishna

February 25, 2018

Movie: Thor – Ragnarok (2017)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 8:00 pm

imageFirst, about today’s Hollywood : What a revival of fortunes for Marvel, by  the way! In the comics crazy forties and fifties it reigned supreme and lay by the kerb until animation caught up with the imagination of the comic story creators so that Hollywood can adopt it fullscale and start churning out one after the other. Did those fail? No problem. Do not stop making them. Just ‘reboot’ them, telling the story from a different angle and it will become a hit.

 

Not that I do not enjoy the movies, but it struck me that most of the top grossers (Pixar excepted as they go in for original stories) are superhero films these days. (Or the other franchaises like Star Wars or Star Trek).

 

If you have seen the previous Thor movies, you realize that the scaffolding is the same. An enemy bent on destruction of (not the world but) Asgard, the hero saving it. Build in Loki’s mischief and other things, and you have got another movie to build within the framework.

 

In this, the initial demon enemy Surtur gets destroyed in the first few scenes (after the initial humour where Thor is hanging upside down dejected after his love dumps him)

 

Dr Strange is now in firmly in the franchaise and helps Loki and Thor by finding out that Odin is in Norway (They are trying to find him after Loki had put a spell on him and sent him initially to New York in order to assume Odin’s form and enjoy the throne of Asgard. This is actually the end of the previous Thor movie, if anyone still remembers it).

 

They discover that they have a sister who was consumed by the dark side. She, Hela, wants to take over Asgard. (Hela is played by Cate Blanchet, and her performance is nice. Not spectacular but nice.)

 

Hela seems not to fear Thor’s hammer, easily destroying it before our shocked eyes. She also enters the portal when Thor and Loki try to flee and also expels them before she herself reaches Asgard before them.

 

Loki becomes a slave in a strange planet ruled by a man called Grandmaster and is attached with a shocking device. Also Loki seems to be in a position of favour there. There is a scene where Thor meets and duels with Bruce Banner in the form of the Hulk and where, after he brings the Hulk back to his senses, convinces him and the rebel girl who captured him to join him in saving Asgard. The rest of the story goes on predictable lines.

 

Nice story and keeps interest going but you suddenly start to see Star Wars like scenes appearing with space ships and battles etc.

 

There are amazing gigantic hounds who are part of Hela’s army and the massive fight between the Hulk and the giants. There is also preaching about realizing your own potential and getting the inner strength from within. (Thor’s hammer is not strictly necessary for Thor to win, if he believes in himself enough.  Go figure).

 

Asgard ends up destroyed so that Thor can spend all his time in his new homeland to which he is now destined : The Earth. (And in Hollywood, the earth is always synonymous with the United States of America, of course).

 

Fun to watch but nothing new conceptually.   6/ 10

– – Krishna

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

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

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