14 March 2016


Zootopia was a fun, animated whodunnit that made up for its predictability with its relevance: a gorgeous new-world that aptly parallels the real world and bolstered by a great chemistry between the leads: Ginnifer Goodwin & Jason Bateman. 

The story, albeit unoriginal, deserved praise for veering left instead of keeping it straight in the Third Act which was mildly unexpected. The world building was done seamlessly in the exposition and was introduced with as much awe and wonder to us as to the lead bunny.

The script was equally accessible to junior as it was layered for the adult which made it slightly more enjoyable. Who doesn't like a gag about Breaking Bad? And it sure was fun spotting all the in-jokes and easter eggs which were thankfully not as distracting as Marvel's. But on a more serious note, the themes were surprisingly heavy and relevant to our society now and hopefully the subversive message can be translated and absorbed into the younger generation.

Goodwin and Bateman had great voice chemistry and their relationship formed the core of the story that helped to maintain the pacing and tempo. The music by Michael Giacchino definitely helped too but it was less distinctive than his past works.  

Running at a brisk 109 minutes, this was a fun way to idle away some time, and I suspect it would have been great in 3D too. 

2 March 2016

Hail, Caesar!

The Coen brothers' latest is a star-studded film that was really reflective of the time that it was set in: Hollywood circa 1950s. It was neither their best nor worst film, but was elevated, and made enjoyable, by the tremendously well-cast actors (except for one Mr Tatum).

The film's best moments were when the actors were self-consciously parodying their 50s counterparts. But otherwise, the Coens got occasionally too self-indulgent in trying to replicate film-making back in the 50s, which ultimately caused the A-plot and narrative to feel meandering and choppy.

Of all the cast, Alden Ehrenreich, Tilda Swinton and Scarlett Johannson were standouts. Co-leads George Clooney and Josh Brolin were fine and adequate in their roles but neither brought anything exciting to the screen, although the former scored points for hamming it up as the archetypal male heart-throb A-lister. Ralph Fiennes, Frances McDormand and Jonah Hill were glorified cameos but at least the first two were memorable and hilarious, whereas Hill was nondescript. Hollywood needs to stop trying to make Channing Tatum work.

Roger Deakins' cinematography is as per usual stunning, but like the Cohens', this was not his best work. Similarly, Carter Burwell's score was fun and reminiscence of the era, but rather forgettable once the film ends.

Hail, Caesar! was a fun film to watch that meandered more than it should, but its mainly brilliant cast more than made up for the thinnest of narrative.


A very smart stop-motion drama-comedy by the insanely brilliant mind of Charlie Kaufman. A simple story that belied a complex and deep study about humanity.

Using creepily life-like stop-animation and the concept of Fregoli delusion (which actually took a few minutes to realise), Kaufman and co-Director Duke Johnson wove together a story that compelled you to keep on watching despite its seemingly conflicted, and mildly unlikable, anti-hero.

The story plodded on slowly initially but if you paid attention, then you would have realised the brilliance of the narrative. Hint: Tom Noonan voiced all the characters aside from the two leads.

David Thewlis and Jennifer Jason Leigh were great in their voice acting, making their characters both real and relatable.

However, the real star was Kaufman and the story. Followed by the animation, and then Carter Burwell's score. Stop-animation has never been so brusque, brash and sexual since Team America: World Police back in 2004, Heck, even the sex scene was even more erotic and realistic than most non-animated ones!

Anomalisa is a film that rewards its patient viewer. Smart, oddly beautiful and strangely engaging.

Stephen King's Doctor Sleep

This was unexpectedly good. It was not Oscar-winning good, but it was a thoroughly entertaining horror-thriller. Kudos to writer/director...