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The Good Dinosaur

the-good-dinosaur

After a movie about feelings having feelings, Pixar’s back with a movie on dinosaur’s having feelings; and that is The Good Dinosaur’s biggest disadvantage. Inside Out was so good that anything after it would have to be superlatively awesome, and unfortunately, this one’s just good.

Directed by Peter Sohn, The Good Dinosaur tells the story of young Arlo, an offspring of a farming Apatosaurus family. Unlike his siblings, Arlo is timid and feeble. Everything changes once he comes across a critter (a caveboy) who helps him discover life and outgrow his fears. The story is simple and very predictable, and this makes The Good Dinosaur feel like a movie you’ve already watched in the past. However, direction by Sohn ensures that you connect with Arlo; you laugh with him, and you cry with him. Pixar’s family bonding is also abundant in the movie. Screenplay by Meg LeFauve is neat.

Not that Raymond Ochoa did a bad job, but I thought Arlo could have been voiced better. The rest of the voice cast is alright.

Music by Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna is good. Editing by Stephen Schaffer is neat while Sharon Calahan’s cinematography is worth a mention. On the downside, The Good Dinosaur doesn’t feel for like a Pixar movie; it could pass as one from any other animation studio.

Is it worth your time and money?: The Good Dinosaur might not be a great film, but it’s worth a watch for its got its heart at the right place.

Worth mention: Direction; I loved the way emotions were showcased.

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 8/10

Creed

Creed

I’ve always been a fan of the Rocky franchise, and so for obvious reasons, was looking forward to this movie; and thankfully, it lived up to my expectations.

Co-scripted and directed by Ryan Coogler, Creed showcases the life of Adonis, son of legendary boxer Apollo Creed. True to his bloodline, Adonis aims to make it big in the boxing arena, but wants to make his own mark, not as a Creed. In comes Rocky Balboa to help the kid, and next thing we know, he’s fighting for the championship. The story is mostly predictable, but Coogler ensured to stay true to the script. I liked the way he intertwined Adonis’ battle with Rocky’s, and added Bianca’s story-line to add substance. Screenplay is neat and effective.

Micheal Jordon is good as Creed, and is impressive in the ring. Tessa Thompson is alright as his love interest. It’s a cake walk for Sylvester Stallone who reprises his role for the seventh time. Looks like he gets better on the acting front with every movie.

Music by Ludwig Göransson is pretty neat. I badly wanted to hear the Rocky theme (Gonna Fly Now), and while the soundtrack doesn’t compare to it, it is still effective. Editing by Claudia Castello Michael and P. Shawver is good. Cinematography by Maryse Alberti is excellent. I loved the way he shot the first bout in a single frame.

Is it worth your time and money?: Definitely yes. Creed is a perfect spin-off to the Rocky series, and it keeps the franchise alive. It definitely is one of my top movies of the year.

Worth mention: Excellent cinematography.

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 8/10

The Martian

The Martian

America has spent a lot on getting Matt Damon back; we first had Saving Private Ryan, then Interstellar, and now The Martian. Why don’t they reach out to his look-alike Mark Wahlberg instead? 😛

Directed by Ridley Scott, who’s worked a set of duds in the recent past, The Martian is a movie about getting an astronaut who is incorrectly presumed dead and left behind on the planet Mars back to Earth. While I have not read Andy Weir’s novel, I thought the screenplay by  Drew Goddard was pretty weak. With the entire story line being revealed in the trailer, there wasn’t anything gripping showcased on-screen. There were also a few episodes which weren’t stitched well into the movie, and there was no effort made on establishing any characters including Matt Damon’s; he’s left on Mars, and everyone’s trying to get him back – where’s the substance and/or emotion? While the direction is alright, there were no moments of awe. Too much drama towards the climax doesn’t help either.

Matt Damon is very good in the lead role. He has put in a lot of effort to groom himself for the role, and it shows on-screen. While it might not be an Academy Award winning performance, it’s still a commendable one. Chiwetel Ejiofor is good and so is Jeff Daniels. While the rest of the cast has big names, no one stands out for they all seemed liked pawns in a game of chess – actors without character.

Music by Harry Gregson-Williams is nothing great. Use of old disco songs seemed too monotonous after a while. Editing by Pietro Scalia could have been better. Cinematography by Dariusz Wolski is good.

Is it worth your time and money?: If too much wasn’t revealed in the trailer, The Martian would probably have had more impact on the audience. Even otherwise, the weak screenplay and average direction make this an average flick.

Worth mention: Acting by Matt Damon.

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7/10
Technical Aspects: 7/10

Verdict: 7.5/10

The Gift

The Gift

The Gift might not have big names or a star cast, but some slick direction makes it a near perfect thriller.

Directed by Joel Edgerton, The Gift tells the story of a young couple, Simon and Robyn, moving into a suburban Los Angeles neighbourhood after Simon finds a new job outside the city. They are soon visited by Gordo, a former high school classmate of Simon’s. While Gordo thinks of Simon as a long-lost friend and showers the couple with unwarranted gifts, Simon thinks otherwise. Things turn ugly when bygones aren’t bygones any more, and we have an edge of the seat thriller at hand, thanks to some smart story telling. While most of the movie is entertaining, the ending seemed a bit clichéd. Nevertheless it’s a good try by the débutante director. The fact that the movie has a positive message, especially for today’s generation, is noteworthy.

Jason Bateman is good as Simon, while Rebecca Hall does a good job as Robyn. Joel is perfect as Gordo; he ensures to downplay the character perfectly. Rest of the cast is alright.

Music by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans is good. Editing by Luke Doolan is neat, and so is the cinematography by Eduard Grau.

Is it worth your time and money?: While it might not be a brilliant film, The Gift is a slick thriller which gives you bang for your buck.

Worth mention: The message the movie conveys.

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 8/10

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Mission_Impossible_Rogue_Nation

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol happens to be one of my favourite action movies. Brad Bird ensured that there was enough adrenaline pumping action to keep you enthralled for over 2 hours (in spite of a mediocre storyline). While Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation doesn’t have as many adrenaline rushing sequences as its predecessor, it’s still a good watch!

Co-scripted and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who earlier worked with Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow and Jack Reacher, the film starts off with Ethan Hunt in search of the mysterious Syndicate while the IMF is disbanded and absorbed into the CIA. It’s now up to Hunt to go rogue and save the world. While the script goes haywire at times and the screenplay is lazy, McQuarrie ensures that the limited stunts are amazingly good. Be it Cruise’s jaw dropping drop into the cooling machine, or the spectacularly shot car chase followed by a bike chase, they keep you engrossed. Wish there was more to offer on the storyline for it all seemed too predictable. The screenplay too could have been crisp.

Tom Cruise is stupendous as Ethan Hunt, as expected. Is he really 53? And does he really do the stunts himself? He is the only reason the franchise is alive for so long, he doesn’t disappoint at all. Rebecca Ferguson puts up a commendable act as Ilsa Faust, while Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg are at their usual best. Pegg tickles your ribs with his witty performance once in a while. Sean Harris is alright as the antagonist.

Music and background score by Joe Kraemer is alright; I wish there was more usage of the original MI theme. Editing by Eddie Hamilton could have been better. Cinematography by Robert Elswit, who also worked on MI4, is brilliant.

Is it worth your time and money?: It’s got Tom Cruise, and amazing stunts. It’s probably the movie every action movie lover has been waiting for. So I don’t think I need to answer the question!

But if you still need an answer, I’d definitely say yes. It might not be an awesome film, but it still gives you bang for the buck!

Worth mention: The spectacularly shot action sequences.

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7.5/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 8/10

Terminator Genisys

terminator-genisys

Terminator 2: Judgment Day was one of my favourite movies during childhood, and I grew up humming the Terminator theme music. While the third and fourth instalments were huge disappointment (for me at least), Terminator Genisys brings alive the series once more, but only to an extent.

Directed by Alan Taylor, the movie starts as a prologue to The Terminator’s  (1984) storyline, where Kyle Reese is sent back to protect Sarah Connor, yet-to-be-born John Connor’s mom, from Skynet’s Terminator. Just like in the 1984 movie, the T-800 and Kyle Reese arrive at the same time, but things are different now for we already have ‘Pops’ in the picture. Scripted by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier, the storyline is very well-connected, but it sometimes is too much to handle. Alan does his best to keep you engrossed, but unfortunately, just like in his previous work (Thor: The Dark World), he defies logic and uses large-scale destruction to do this. Screenplay is alright.

Arnold is back, and he is back to what he does best; being a torpid actor. Nevertheless, he still charms you with his antics. He’s grown old for sure, but man, he still has the body to play the Guardian. Emilia Clarke looks great, and does well as the Mother of Dra.. oops, Sarah Connor. Jason Clarke (no, he’s not related to Emilia, I checked) is alright as John. Jai Courtney comes up with a better performance than in A Good Day to Die Hard, but he still is a mediocre actor.

Music by Lorne Balfe, supervised by Hans Zimmer is good. I liked the background score, but would have loved for the original theme to be playing for longer periods. Cinematography by Kramer Morgenthau is decent, and the 3D effects are good. The CGI work looked patchy at times. Editing by Roger Barton could have been better.

Is it worth your time and money?: Well, it might not be a great movie and it might actually feel like you’ve already watched all of it; nevertheless,you may give it a watch. Ensure that you have minimal expectations.

Worth mention: The SF Bridge episode is well shot.

Acting: 7.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7/10
Technical Aspects: 7/10

Verdict: 7/10

Hasta la vista, baby!

Inside Out

Inside Out

After dealing with toys, bugs, monsters, fish, cars, rats, robots, dogs and superheroes, Pixar now makes a movie on human emotions. And boy, it was fun to figure yourself Inside Out.

Directed by Pete Docter (who had earlier directed two of my favourite Pixar films Monsters, Inc. and Up), Inside Out showcases the story of five emotions inside the head of an eleven year old girl, Riley. Joy, who happens to lead the pack, wants to ensure that Riley always stays happy and joyful; but she doesn’t realize that Riley can’t stay joyful if it were only up to her. Yes, Joy is important, but what’s the fun of Joy if you’ve never experienced Sadness; or for that matter, Fear, Disgust or Anger. While it might seem too intellectual, Pete does a brilliant job of portraying this message. Young kids in the theatre were appreciating almost every scene, and their Joy made sure it was apparent. There are tons of moments in the movie; be it mother’s interactions with father’s emotions, or the reactions of a young boy’s emotions when he bumps into a girl, it’s all depicted beautifully. Screenplay is simple yet effective.

Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Mindy Kaling bring Riley’s Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust to life. I especially loved Black as Anger.

Music by Michael Giacchino is enjoyable, and editing by Kevin Nolting is neat. While the 3D effects aren’t spectacular, no qualms on the CGI work.

Is it worth your time and money?: Irrespective of whether you like animation or not, it’s time to put aside your Disgust, Fear and Anger, and go watch Inside Out. I’m sure even Sadness will experience Joy! 😀

Worth mention: The beautiful narrations; and the islands.

Acting: 9/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 9.5/10
Technical Aspects: 9/10

Verdict: 9/10

PS: I loved this pic!

Inside Out - Feelings

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-Poster

The Avengers was one of the best films to come out from Marvel Studios; it was close to epic in terms of super hero films. Avengers: Age of Ultron might not be as epic as the predecessor, but it’s still a good watch.

Joss Whedon kick starts the movie with our superheroes trying to retrieve Loki’s scepter from a fictitious European country. While they do the needful, they realize that Hydra experiments have created the twins – Quick Silver with superhuman speed, the Scarlet Witch with telekinetic powers. Scarlet hypnotizes Stark to see things, because of which he decides to create artificially intelligent Ultron defence program using the scepter’s gem. Things go wrong, as expected, and Ultron revolts against the Avengers; it’s time for some bang-bang! On script and direction front, Whedon does a good job; he brings out the best from all his leads and does justice to the ‘Hulkbuster’ episode. However, he loses steam on screenplay; there are multiple episodes with multiple threads, and all of these weren’t really well-connected. The climax also seemed to be hurried.

While the star/Stark had maximum footage in the first film, this one provides equal opportunity to all the leads. Robert Downey looked stoned at times, but still comes up with a good act; he’s good as long as he’s witty! Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo are decent while Chris Hemsworth is great; his expressions when people are trying to lift Mjolnir, his hammer, are brilliant. Jeremy Renner has more screen-time than one would expect, and he’s good. Scarlett Johansson is hot, and Elizabeth Olsen is hotter. James Spader brings life to Ultron, but honestly, he’s no Loki/Tom Hiddleston. The rest of the cast is alright.

Music by Brian Tyler and Danny Elfman is decent, but we mostly hear the theme composed by Alan Silvestri on-screen. Cinematography by Ben Davis is perfect, while editing by Jeffrey Ford and Lisa Lassek is neat. 3D effects are good, but not breathtaking.

Is it worth your time and money??: While not as spectacular as its predecessor, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a good film. The action episodes are well canned, and you’re sure to enjoy Iron Man fighting Hulk. My suggestion: don’t expect too much, and you wouldn’t be disappointed!

Worth mention: Iron Man and Hulk’s fist bump!

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 8/10

Fast & Furious 7

Furious_7_poster

It’s touted to be the last ride. It probably wasn’t their intention when they started with the production, but circumstances have led Furious 7 to be the one last ride with Paul Walker.

James Wan, who’s directed horror movies like The Conjuring in the past, is in the driver seat for the last, ok, enough of it. There are tons of action episodes and chases, most of which are well canned; but the fast paced action seemed to have a burden on someone who’s’ done horror his entire life. While you might at times feel a little nauseated, James still does a decent job on direction front. Planning the screenplay must have been a big challenge, because the untimely demise of one of the main characters; nevertheless, Chris Morgan does well.

Vin Diesel barely acts, but he gets the job done, like he’s done in the remaining five films. Paul’s footage is pulled off well by his doubles. Jason Statham is perfect as the antagonist, and gives the lead pair a good fight. Dwayne Johnson has minimal presence, and thank god for that 😛 . Michelle has a dead expression for most part (but why!). The rest of the cast, is just alright.

Music by Brian Tyler could have been better. The sound effects and mixing however, are excellent. So is the cinematography by Stephen Windon and Marc Spicer. While editing (by a bunch of guys) is decent, the film might seem a little too long for most.

Is it worth your time and money?: Forget logic, it’s all about action; it’s Fast & Furious. With well canned stunts, and a decent storyline, you have a good action film yes. And more than that, the montage towards the end will leave you teary. So what more do you need?

Worth mention: Almost all the action stunts make you go whoa. And the montage!

Acting: 7.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7/10
Technical Aspects: 7.5/10

Verdict: 7.5/10

Cinderella

Cinderella

The story we grew up with is back on the big screen. It might have been told over and over but still has the magic which can charm you; and this version is no different.

Director Kenneth Branagh doesn’t play around while telling Cinderella’s tale, and that actually what makes this movie work. Direction is good, however, the emotions could have been more powerful. The evil wicked mother wasn’t really evil, and the love story could have been better. Screenplay by Chris Weitz also seemed a little out of sorts, especially in the ball episode. A little more engaging screenplay would have worked wonders.

Lilly James is perfect as Ella; she has the innocence needed to play the character, and does total justice. She looks gorgeously beautiful in the ball gown. Richard Madden is handsome enough to be Prince Charming, and does well. Cate Blanchet could have been more evil. The rest of the cast is alright.

Music by Patrick Doyle is decent, while sound mixing and effects are good. Cinematography by Haris Zambarloukos is excellent, and editing by Martin Walsh could have been crisp. Disney has its stamp all over the movie.

Is it worth your time and money?: It might not be an excellent film, but it is a decent watch nevertheless.

Worth mention: Cinderella in the ball gown.

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 7.5/10

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