The Adventures of Tintin – TSOU | Movie Review

Plot 
Tintin (Jamie Bell), a young journalist, happens to buy a model ship named Unicorn. Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig) tries to buy the model from Tintin, but fails. The model is stolen from Tintin’s possession, and he soon discovers that there’s more than meets the eye. He goes on about an adventure trying to solve the puzzle, and meets Captain Archibald Haddock (Andy Serkis) through his journey. The rest of the story is about how they solve the mystery together, and discover the lost treasure of the Unicorn.

Artists Performance
Honestly, it was quite difficult for me to judge the artists performance, as it was motion/performance capture film. It was also hard to imagine most actors in their respective roles. Jamie Bell was alright in the lead role. Andy Serkis was brilliant as Capt’n Haddock. His comic timing was superb. Daniel Craig was good as the sinister. He was the most difficult one to imagine (James Bond playing a negative role!!). The true star of the movie though was Snowy. He was a brilliantly created traditionally animated character.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Based on three of Herge’s original comic books (The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure), screenplay by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish was very well written. Ive never read the comics myself, but do remember watching the cartoons as a kid, and I thought these guys did a pretty good job of combining the three to write an effective screenplay. I did feel that it was a little too long at times, but with a running time of 107 minutes, it actually wasn’t. Direction by Steven Spielberg was again very difficult to judge. Id say that he did a pretty good job. I thought a couple of scenes in the movie were brilliantly shot: the one where Haddocks recalls the story of the Unicorn (running in parallel to reality), and the scenes after Haddock  blows the dam in Bagghar. Though he dint direct the movie, the motion capture work by Peter Jackson does deserve a mention in this section.

Other Departments
Music by John Williams was a disappointment. For a franchise of such magnitude, I expected a haunting theme music. Cinematography by Janusz Kamiński was excellent. The zoom out shots were really good.  My only problem was with the 3D. Except in a couple of scenes, there were no 3D effects. It looked like a 2D film being screened on 3D. Editing by Michael Kahn was pretty decent. The animation was of top notch quality, and every character and location looked very believable.

Analysis
First thing I’ve realized after watching this movie is that its very tough to review an animation film (at least, this one was made using motion capture). Though everything seemed to have worked really well for the movie, I somehow wasn’t totally satisfied when it ended. The spark you expect in an animation was missing. The story also seemed a little complicated. It is a adventure film with its share of fun moments. Overall, a pretty decent watch, but not a classic!!

Verdict: 7.5/10

Real Steel | Movie Review

Plot 
Real Steel is set in the future, where robot fights are a craze. Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is a former boxer, who survives on unsanctioned robot fights. He comes to know that his ex-girl friend is dead, leaving him his 11 year old son Max (Dakota Goyo). To clear his debts, and buy robots, Charlie gives Max’s custody to his ex’s sister Debra on payment of 100 grand. Max stays with Charlie for a couple of months before Debra can take him along. During these two months, Max discovers a obsolete scrap robot Atom, and pesters Charlie to train Atom. The rest of the story is about how Max changes Charlie’s life, and how Atom goes on to become ‘The People’s Champion’!

Artists Performance
Hugh Jackman is excellent as the careless, indifferent father, who isn’t serious about anything in life. He plays his character to perfection. The true star of the movie though is Dakota Goyo. He brings in a lot of innocence to his character while thinking very maturely, and was really really cute. His expressions while talking to Charlie are brilliant. Evangeline Lilly has a limited role in the movie, and was good. I would have loved to see more of her on screen.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
The story of the film is very very predictable. Its got a Rocky Balboa kinda theme to it, but instead of boxers fighting out, its robots. Story byDan Gilroy and Jeremy Leven is pretty decent, but director Shawn Levy couldn’t get everything right. The story seems to drag many a times. He tried to play with a number of emotions, instead of sticking to one thread. He handled the scenes involving the kid very well. He was able to generate subtle humour through the father-son relationship. Screenplay by John Gatins could have been better, but I have no qualms.

Other Departments
Music by Danny Elfman is alright. I liked a couple of soundtracks. The sound effects weren’t as great as Super 8, but were pretty decent. The Animatronic robots used looked very real and believable (Tom Meyer). Cinematography by Mauro Fiore was excellent. The scenes involving shadow fighting were shot brilliantly. Editing by Dean Zimmerman could have been way better. As already mentioned, the film dragged in parts, and a lot of scenes could have made the cut. Production values by DreamWorks are good.

Analysis
I didn’t like the trailer, and therefore was planning to skip watching this movie. But I finally did after a number of people told me about it (and in fact asked me for a review). And thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. But I wasn’t too happy either (mainly because of the Dolby turning on and off during the movie in the theatre, Inox). It was a pretty decent movie which had its moments. The climax of the film was brilliantly shot, and makes up for most of the flaws in the movie. Plus points are Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo and the shadow cinematography. But on the downside, I could see similarities to a number of hit flicks. I actually felt like I was watching a Bollywood film because of the drag and sentimental scenes.

It’s Rocky Balboa, but instead of Sylvester Stallone, you have Atom fighting the fights.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Super 8 | Movie Review

Plot 
Super 8 tells the story of Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), a 14-year-old boy who recently lost his mom in an accident. His dad, Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler) is the Police deputy of the small town they live in. Joe and Jackson are going through a tough phase with the recent death. Joe, his secret crush Alice (Elle Fanning), and his friends are shooting a Zombie movie at an old train depot, when a huge train crash occurs. The event gets recorded on their camera. The rest of the story establishes reason for the crash and its consequences.

Artists Performance
Every artist in the film was absolutely brilliant. Joel Courtney was excellent as the lead kid. His expressions were good towards the climax of the movie. Kyle Chandler was good and fit the bill perfectly. Riley Griffiths was fantastic as Jack’s best buddy, and the director with a secret crush on Alice. I loved the scene where he asks Jack if he could manage things without him. The best performance though, is by Elle Fanning. I was absolutely spellbound by her act as the heroine (like everyone else), and even as the zombie. She looked really mean and scary while dressed as the zombie. Other friends of Jack were great. It was a perfect ensemble of cast.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Written and directed by J.J. Abrams, Super 8 is one of those freaky, sci-fi alien movies which makes an impact. It was like watching a Steven Spielberg’s film, but with a different take on things. I loved the screenplay. The way he scared the living hell out of the audience, without actually showing us the alien was brilliant. Also, I liked the way he established the animosity between Jack’s and Alice’s dads as the story progresses. The direction was spot on. He was able to generate the best out of the kids, while infusing subtle humor throughout the film. The movie never lost its momentum. The Zombie movie during the end title credits was brilliant.

Other Departments
I’ve seen quite a lot of movies, but I’ve never watched anything which literally made me jump of my seat for its sound effects. This film did that. Credit goes to Michael Giacchino for the mind-blowing music, re-recording and sound effects. CGI effects house Industrial Light and Magic are really good. The train crash scenes had the best effects, and was very well canned. Cinematography by Larry Fong was excellent. As already mentioned, the way the alien was never shown properly in any frame until the climax was brilliant. Editing by Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey was perfect. The film never dragged. Production values by Amblin Entertainment (Spielberg), Bad Robot Productions (J.J. Abrams), and Paramount Pictures are excellent.

Analysis
Its one of the best movies I’ve watched in recent times. It was spooky, freaky and humorous, all at the same time. The actors fit the bill perfectly, and did an awesome job. I felt that the movie had a message infused into it. Plus points are the casting, brilliant screenplay, direction, and the sound effects. I cant think of any negatives. It’s a film to be watched in a theater. I absolutely loved it, I hope you do too.

Verdict: 9/10

PS: The film released about 4 months ago in the U.S, but released just a couple of days ago in India. I’ve been waiting all along to go watch it in the theatre. And it was worth the wait!!

Rise of the Planet of the Apes | Movie Review

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Plot
Will Rodman (James Franco) is a Scientist working for GEN-SYS, a company which manufactures drugs, first testing them on Chimpanzees. Drug 112 helps improve the intelligence of a female Chimp “Bright Eyes”, but she is shot down due to unforeseen circumstances and the project is put off. Will takes in her child, names him Caesar (Andy Serkis), and raises him. Caesar inherits his mother’s genes and is born intelligent. After years, Caeser attacks Will’s neighbour and therefore is put in a private facility, where he is mistreated. He develops rage, and with his intelligence, decides to free other Chimps. The consequences form rest of the story.
 
Artists Performance
Being a CG film, there is not much role for the human actors. Will Rodman is alright as the scientist. Freida Pinto has no role in the movie, and she is ok. Rest of actors are fine, with no great performances. Andy Serkis is brilliant as Caesar (motion capture), and is the undoubted star of the movie.
 
Story – Direction
Being the foundation film for revive of the franchise, there is not much happening in this film. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (writers) dedicated most of the script to establish the character of Caesar, with very little of a rebellion in the film. I dint really understand the importance of Drug 113, it might be something for the sequel. Caesar avoiding killing of humans is something I liked. I thought the movie ended very abruptly. Direction by Rupert Wyatt is good. The Screenplay was alright.
 
Other Departments
Music by Patrick Doyle is forgettable. It was good in parts, but I would have expected a more haunting score for such a movie. Cinematography by Andrew Lesnie is alright. Editing by Conrad Buff and Mark Goldblatt is fine. The motion captured digital apes created by Weta Digital are of top-notch quality, but I thought that their faces looked a little distorted. Other than the apes though, the graphics were real shoddy. I expect something much better for such a high budget film.
 
Analysis
Having heard and read good reviews about Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I was expecting something spectacular. Alas, I was disappointed. I am not saying that it was a bad movie, but there was that spark missing. There is no real bond between Will and Caesar, which according to me was really important. Overall, it’s a decent watch, but nothing you have to run to the theatre for.
 
Verdict: 6.5/10

Delhi Belly | Movie Review

Delhi BellyNo, it didn’t take me 20 days to watch Delhi Belly. I watched it on the first day in Mumbai, but unfortunately in Hindi. Three weeks later, I finally get to watch it in the original Hinglish version, and here is my review!

Plot
Tashi (Imran Khan), Arup (Vir Das) and Nitin (Kunal Kapur) are three roommates living in a small, filthy apartment in Delhi. Tashi works as a journalist and Nitin is his photographer. Arup works as a cartoonist. Tashi’s air-hostess girlfriend, Sonia (Shenaz Treasury), whom he is forced to marry in a month’s time, requests him to deliver a package for a Russian. Tashi asks Nitin to deliver it for him, and Nitin relays it to Arup. Finally, it does not end up with the person it is supposed to, a gangster named Somayajulu (Vijay Raaz). The consequences form the rest of the story.

Actors Performance
Imran Khan does it, finally!! He proves that he can act, and makes sure he plays Tashi’s character to perfection. Vir Das is excellent. He uses his stand-up comedian experience to the fullest. Kunal Kapur was superb in his role as Nitin. It’s not so easy to create neat humor using fart jokes, while underplaying it. But he always gets it right and its never to gross. Shenaz Treasury is alright as the bitchy girlfriend. Poorna Jagannathan is good as Tashi’s other interest. But the show stealers are Vijay Raaz and his sidekick. Vijay Raaz is superb as the gangster. The rest of the cast is alright. Aamir is at his usual best in the end credits.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Have you guys seen Guy Ritchie’s 1998 caper film “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”?? If you answered yes, and if you are intelligent, then you should have known the story of Delhi Belly. It is very difficult to write the story and screenplay for a caper film. Lock, Stock was the first movie of its kind, and had nothing to live up to. After watching it, Ritchie’s next film “Snatch” itself seemed too predictable. It’s the way the genre is. But Akshat Verma (Story and probably Screenplay) does a very good job with the script. He infuses different sub stories into the main plot in a very effective manner, and makes sure its stays Desi. There is not one dull moment in the film. Direction by first-timer Abhinay Deo (Game was actually his second film but released earlier) couldn’t have been better. He sucks out fresh performances from every character. Making proper choices, he could be the next big thing in the industry.

Other Departments
Music by Ram Sampath is excellent. I don’t think I need to talk about “D K Bose”. It’s so in my head that while watching the climax of ZNMD, I was singing this song aloud. The background score is effective, and it is made sure that all the songs of the album are there in the movie (My friend suggested that the bg was similar to Lock, Stock.. Hmmm). Dialogues by Akshat Verma are mind-blowing. The slang used by today’s youth is all there. I’ve seen both versions of the movie, in Hindi and the original Hinglish. Dialogues in the original are much more witty than the Hindi one (Few of the literal translations into Hindi sound gross). Editing by Huzefa Lokhandwala is good. With a run time of 96 minutes, the film seemed perfect. Cinematography by Jason West is of top-notch quality. Jim Furgele, Ronnie Screwvala and Kiran Rao should be really appreciated for having the guts to produce such a different film. But it is Aamir Khan who makes the film work. If it were not for him, Delhi Belly would never have made it so big. Enough said!!

Analysis
Made on a budget of 25 crores, the movie grossed 52 crores in the first 2 weeks. That speaks for how good the movie is. The plus points of the film are the cast and its awesome production values. Not to forget the publicity. The genre might make the movie a little too predictable, but it still keeps you glued to your seats. It is not a movie to be watched with your parents, but to my surprise, half the cinema-hall was filled with families watching along with their kids (both for the Hindi and Hinglish version). Overall, it’s the birth of new cinema in India, not to forget a writer, and a director. If you haven’t already, go watch it, preferably the Hinglish version. It’s a decision you mostly wont regret!!

Verdict: 8.5/10

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 | Movie Review

Plot
Now that Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has the Elder wand, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) sets off his search for the remaining three Horcruxes with Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint). They end up at Hogwarts and the final battle begins. He then discovers that there is one more Horcrux to be destroyed and you know what happens next!! Well, if you don’t, go watch the movie 🙂

Artists Performance
Every character seems to have improved with age. Daniel, Emma and Rupert come up with mature performances compared to their previous outings. They do look very odd as adults in the ending though. Alan Rickman (Snape) surprises you with his acting skills (watch the second movie to understand what I mean). All the other characters are all right. Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) overacts as usual while in her shoes.

Story – Screenplay – Direction
Having covered the first 25 chapters of the 36 chapter book in Part 1, I was honestly hoping that they would stick to the book. But instead, Steve Cloves (Screenplay) chose to cut it short, and moreover, modify it. The final battle between Harry and Voldemort is picturized very different from the book. There is no mention about Dumbledore’s Secrets and Lies. Being titled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, strangely there is not much discussed about the Deathly Hallows. They do not even disclose what the Third Hallow is. Director David Yates tried to infuse humor into scenes which were meant to be serious (I don’t know if its intentional). He does a better job compared to his last three films, but I believe he could have put in much more effort. They chose to convey a lot of the story through expressions which I don’t think really worked. Overall, the effect was missing in the end.

Other Departments
Music by Alexandre Desplat is mediocre. It was sad to watch gripping scenes with such dull background score. Cinematography by Eduardo Serra is of top-notch quality. Editing by Mark Day is pretty decent. The graphics stand out and it is a visual feast. The 3D effect was ok.

Analysis
Being the final chapter of the series, a lot is expected from this movie and it definitely lives up to its expectations. But a lot more could have been done with it in my opinion. The climax seemed to lack the punch required and left me wanting more. People who read the book might be a disappointed. Overall, it’s a better ending to the movie series than what I expected it to be. Go watch it whether you are a Harry Potter fan or not!

Verdict: 8/10

PS: This being my first review, I know I sound kinda amateurish. I hope to improve on it soon. Next review on ZNMD coming by evening 🙂