Monday, 27 February 2017

2017 Oscar/Academy Award winners


Warren Beatty explaining the confusion as the cast of 'La La Land' hands over their Oscars to the producers of 'Moonlight' on stage. AFP pic

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Logan ... Logan's on the run

IT'S been 17 years since the first X-Men film appeared, and in that time, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine has taken the world by storm. Logan is supposedly the final film in the Wolverine trilogy. The film is chockful of violence, and it's also about the loner Logan shedding his inhibitions and learning to be part of someone's life, and standing up for that someone.
   Logan is introduced to new young bilingual mutant Laura (Dafne Keen), whose skills are introduced through an awesome scene in an abandoned industrial plant in the Mexican desert.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Lion ... Tracks to nowhere

VIEWERS can be forgiven for thinking that the first act of Australian director Garth Davis's debut feature film Lion resembles the porn poverty in Slumdog Millionaire. An irresistible Saroo (Sunny Pawar), 5, steals the show with his impish grin and indomitable spirit to survive amid the hustle and bustle of Calcutta, India.
   The scenes with his elder brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) are strong and emotional, as are the scenes of him escaping a would-be abductor.
   The him, however, flounders when Saroo is adopted by an angelic white Australian couple, John Brierley (David Wenham) and his wife Sue (Nicole Kidman). After one meal, one bathtime session and one nice talk, Sue has bonded with the illiterate Saroo.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Moonlight .. Atmospheric and meditative

IN Richard Linklater's Boyhood, viewers see the transformation of an actor playing a kid over the years. In writer-director Barry Jenkins's Moonlight, viewers see the transformation of a character played by three actors in pre-pubescent, teenage and adult years.
   This is a delightfully slow and atmospheric film that washes over you with its great acting, long takes and rocking soundtrack.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Hidden Figures ... Girl power blasts off

AFTER the fiasco of last year's #OscarsSoWhite, there are three black films up for Best Picture at Sunday's Oscars ceremony.
  The film opens in Malaysia today to coincide with the hoopla surrounding it, which is based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly -- Hidden Figures: The American Dream And The Untold Story of the  Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win The Space Race.
   My first viewing of writer-director Theodore Melfi's film made me tear up. It's so blatantly an uplifting tearjerker. The same thing happened the second time.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Fifty Shades Darker ... Dull and deploreable

TWO years ago this month, I kicked off my blog with a review of director Sam Taylor-Johnson's forgettable Fifty Shades of Grey, based on the best-selling book of the same name by E.L. James. The film was critically ravaged, but it made tonnes of money.
   The sequel to that film is back to haunt us, or make us laugh, depending on your point of view. Director James Foley's Fifty Shades Darker, based on the book of the same name by James, continues from where the first film left off.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Rings ... The horror of watching this film

THERE was a reason why VCRs and video cassettes became obsolete, and Rings, which is based on a
Japanese horror film, should follow the same path.
   You all know the drill: you watch a well-edited black-and-white video, and you get a call immediately after watching it (there's no mention of how the evil spirit gets your number) that tells you that you have seven days to live.

Friday, 10 February 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2 ... Speeding into oblivion

"I'LL kill them, I'll kill them all."
   Assassin John Wick (a morose Keanu Reeves) utters this at the end of violent film John Wick: Chapter 2, directed by Chad Stahelski. I'm not sure why someone decided to make this sequel.
    It could be to satiate viewers' lust for blood. There's not much exposition in this film, and whatever dialogue present is strictly functional.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Manchester By The Sea ... Honest, gritty depiction of grief

THE protagonist in writer-director Kenneth Lonergan’s mostly all-white film Manchester By The
Sea  is quiet, abrasive and prone to bouts of violence.
   He lives alone in a tiny room while working as a janitor/handyman in a few  buildings. He’s proficient at his task and he’s a fly on the wall, privy to residents’ conversations while he goes about his job. It could be that he’s invisible to others.
   He’s lost interest in women and has a short fuse.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Hacksaw Ridge ... Oh Christ! the violence

DIRECTOR Mel Gibson has his cake and eats it too in Hacksaw Ridge, about real-life US Medal of
Honour recipient Desmond Doss, a devout Christian and medic who single- handedly rescued 75 injured US soldiers, and some Japanese, according to the film, in the ferocious Battle of Okinawa in 1945.
   And conscientious objector Doss did it without carrying a gun, which he says, in the movie, is one of the Ten Commandments: thou shall not kill.