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Showing posts from December, 2015

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens [IMAX/3D]

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I will just say it right now: this was not a great movie.

It was a good film; an enjoyable, fluffy, popcorn, end-of-year, special-effects bonanza that is bound to make loads of cash, but it was not great in any way at all. Filled with a predictable and recycled storyline, predictable and clunky dialogue (noticed a trend?), mediocre to bad acting from the newbies, and boringly bland sets, music and cinematography, this film rides on the legacy of its original epic trilogy and succeeds because of the dismal tragedy of its prequels.

Granted, J.J. Abrams had a lot on his shoulders when he took on this behemoth and all things considering, he did a valiant job. Just not an outstanding one.

The film was obviously made for a four-quadrant audience with as much mass appeal as possible (read: simplicity). It had to pay homage to the original and acknowledged the mistakes of the prequels for the fanboys, and yet it need to hook in a whole new generation of audience for the large cinematic univer…

Creed

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Nostalgia weekend starts with Creed – the seventh film in the Rocky franchise, and boy was it a knockout! Reuniting Fruitvale Station’stalented Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan, the film was surprising sincere and heartfelt. Even as it occasionally veers towards the overly dramatic and oddly faux epic-ness of a Rocky movie, it was still a worthy successor of Slyvester Stallone’s early hits. Speaking of Stallone, he was the Most Valuable Person of the film. There was an unexpected naturalness in his role that genuinely made you feel for him and how life must be like for a lonely, ex-champion. It was no wonder that he has been getting accolades and he does deserve it. There is a possibility that he might get a Best Supporting Actor nomination out of it, but if he does, Mark Rylance is still the man to beat (without having seeing Spotlight yet). Coogler directed a brilliant film. He managed to get another great performance out of Jordan and also from Stallone, and the rest of the suppor…

In The Heart Of The Sea

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Ron Howard's latest wasan alright movie - it was neither spectacularly good nor horrendously bad - it just lacked the grandeur and epic sweep that it so badly wished it had, but, in the end, it was failed by a generic story and un-imaginative storytelling.
Chris Hemsworth is an underrated actor and it is going to take a lot for him to get out from under Thor's shadow. His last outing with Howard gave us the excellent Rush and hopefully with the moolah from Marvel, he can continue to pursue smaller films that allow him to showcase his acting chops.
The story by Char;es Levant, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver was too focused on getting the characters to meet The Whale that it sacrificed characterization and relationship building which would become so important in the Third Act as the crew tried to survive. In truth, the story behind Moby Dick could have been very interesting, but the direction it took was not refreshing or new.
ITHOTS tried to emulate the gorgeous CGI-created world…

Macbeth

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A beautiful and poetic interpretation, albeit a mildly abridged version, of Shakespeare's classic tragedy that was filled with gorgeous shots and a riveting, mesmerising  performance by Michael Fassbender and an equally hauntiing and intense one from Marion Cotillard. Thankfully the subtitles helped with both the Shakespearean/Elizabethan English and the heavy heavy Scottish (and Irish and French and Fassbenderian) accents.

Director Justin Kurzel's first big film was assured and confident, and he managed to stage the film like a play but yet still fully-utilised the large screen capability of cinema to translate the grandeur and majesty of the story. However, the strength in his directing was really the closer and intimate portrayals of King and Lady Macbeth. Although that was also partially due to the strength of the actors.

I think it is great that actors of such calibre like Fassbender and Cotillard are willing to take a chance on Kurzel, and something must have gone right…

The Good Dinosaur

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The Good Dinosaur was a beautifully rendered animation with gorgeous, picturesque landscapes and amazing details. The story itself was a simple, straightforward The Land Before Time  meets The Lion King sensibility that despite its subtle darkness, still lacked the depth and lofty ideas of past Pixar entries. Nonetheless, it stills pack an emotional punch aided by Mychael and Jeff Danna's grogeous score.

I think Pixar had a wonderful concept initially: What if the meteor that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs didn't really hit Earth. That is a brilliant sci-fi concept and animation would have been able to carry it off beautifully (think: Avatar). And some seeds of that idea could be seen in the final film, however, what was more obvious was that the final product was clearly a different story from that.

The anthropomorphism of the dinosaurs went a bit too far  - but just roll with it since it is an additional million years of evolution - and the de-anthropomorphism of the…