Tuesday, October 29, 2013

WORLD WAR Z

Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos


A few days before Halloween I thought it would be fitting to watch a scary film.  As I checked my arsenal folder of films, I noticed I didn't have any horror films (mainly because I am not a fan of this genre). 

Then I saw World War Z - zombie invasion would surely qualify as scary in my opinion.  So I settled down to watch.  At first, surely the very thought of a group of people getting infected with some sort of virus which turns them into zombies is quite frightening for me.  

But as the movie progressed and I saw the extreme lengths Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) went through to find a 'cure', the idea became less scary and more of a joke. The kind of joke that is passed around several times, it becomes stale relatively faster than you can reach the punchline.

I mean really the fact that the scientist who will extract the vaccine dies (rather carelessly as hitting his head when he slips) within several minutes of the film should tell you it can't be taken seriously.  It seems like Brad Pitt took on this project so he could (a) be the sole hero to the rescue and (b) make a film that will certainly earn him huge brownie points with his young kids.  But then it is Brad Pitt after all and I may be wrong but I don't think that award winning performance would be an apt description as far as his acting skills go.  

Probably that he is too good looking to be taken seriously but judging from his array of films so far, none really scream Oscar worthy acting, right?  So after I got over my initial fear of zombies wreaking mayhem over the universe, I simply settled back and enjoyed this popcorn popping type of mindless entertainment (sans the popcorn, of course).

The film itself is well edited with violent and disturbing images of zombies on the attack in almost every frame.  Even though he goes all over the world (Israel, Scotland) to find the 'solution', the flow of the film is still intact and balanced.  The computer generated images naturally helped in bringing the dramatic intensity factor into play.  

Then just as you expected more 'action', the film ends on an open ended sequence.  This uncertainty cues in a sequel is in the works in the distant or near future.  It would be interesting to see the different premises that will be played before a final closure is brought about.  But until then, life goes on ... preferably without any zombie attacks!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

ARTHUR NEWMAN

Colin Firth, Emily Blunt
Anne Heche

"If you Don't have a Life, Get someone Else's"

SM Cinemas


I found myself at the mall to do some errands. I wanted to catch Clooney and Bullock as the unfortunate astronauts on a mission that goes wrong but unfortunately I missed the appropriate showing time, so I settled for Firth and Blunt.  

That's Colin Firth who stars as a down on his luck sales agent who decides to fake his death so he could start a new life as Arthur Newman. His dream is to resume his golf career so he intends to pursue a job as an  instructor at a golf club in another state.  Along the way, he meets Mike (Emily Blunt) herself a lost soul and they connect on more levels than one.  

This is their story.

I reckon it is quite easy for someone to just vanish into thin air without anyone missing them and assume a new identity in a huge country like the US.  In Wallace Avery's case, I found it quite sad that he didn't have a solid support system like a loving family to provide him with whatever he felt was missing in his life.  But as we see in the film, he doesn't have a warm personality. He is divorced and estranged from his family while his current girlfriend played by Anne Heche seems to be neglected and largely ignored.

The loneliness is all the more highlighted when one lonely soul meets another lonely soul. In this case, Arthur meets Mike who is I'd say more troubled than lonely.  Somehow, together they click and make the most of the time together (read: have sex a lot) even though they clearly know zilch about each other lives. 

As the film moves on and the notion of second chances peeks in, surely redemption and finding one's self cannot be far behind and right on cue they appear towards the ending. I know it's predictable but somehow watching good actors like Colin Firth and Emily Blunt bring to life such sad characters somehow made the film easier to bear.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

STOKER

Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode,
Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney

"Do not Disturb the Family"


The word that comes to my mind to describe this movie is 'peculiar'.  This is the story of India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) a young woman who must learn to cope with the sudden death of her beloved father.  Helping her through the 'process' is her unstable mother Evie played brilliantly by Nicole Kidman and her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode).  Her father's younger brother who suddenly shows up after the funeral. A close relative which neither Evie nor India knew even existed.  Charlie has a magnetic draw to his personality which India cannot quite explain yet it continues to fascinate the young woman. 

"Stoker" is the first English languaged film of Chan Wook Park, a Korean director and its script is co-written by Wentworth Miller of "Prison Break" fame and who was recently in the news for revealing his sexual orientation.

The main draw for me is the brilliant way "Stoker" was filmed. The cinematography was bursting with vibrant colors. Each detail in every scene was well showcased from extreme close up scenes to wide angle shots of landscapes. Most of them accompanied with hauntingly sinister music.  It felt like a fairy tale where you'd half expect animals and plants to start talking but fortunately they didn't because it isn't an animation film.  Even though the lead actress Mia Wasikowska first debuted as Alice in "Alice in Wonderland".

The peculiar aspect rose mostly from the mysterious aura of its unique characters. Strange roles but well acted by the ensemble cast. Notably Matthew Goode as Uncle Charlie was as creepy as creepy gets even though he looks like he walked out of a GC magazine cover. But beware looks can truly be deceiving!

No doubt, "Stoker" is a dark film with rather disturbing sequences which all unfold towards the end yet the mesmerizing manner it was presented is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat.
 

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