Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Water Diviner

Directed by: Russell Crowe
Starring: Russell Crowe, Olga Kurylenko, Jai Courtney , etc.
Release date: December 13, 2014 (Dubai International Film Festival)

Russell Crowe, the Oscar-winning Australian actor, makes his feature film directorial debut with The Water Diviner. Though an ambitious effort, Crowe needn’t hurry into changing professions anytime soon. Unlike his contemporaries Mel Gibson , Ben Affleck or even George Clooney, Crowe shows little flair for story-telling in form or style. The Water Diviner is simplistic; it has a banal quality that can’t be rescued by Russell Crowe the actor nor the movie’s wonderful production.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring:  Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, etc.
Release date: December 11, 2014

Thirteen years since we first saw Peter Jackson’s hobbits walk across the cinema screen, his epic six-movie saga on Middleearth comes to an end with the last of the Hobbit films. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, in many ways, is Jackson’s most sincere Hobbit film – it is neither an unnecessary indulgence, fan-service nor award-baiting. It is an entertaining and energetic finale that stays faithful to the one thing that matters most: telling a great story. The relatively shorter runtime, a different format of events (there is no journey) and the uninterrupted pacing undoubtedly make it the best of this trilogy.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Haider (2014)

Directed by: Vishal Bhardwaj
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan, Shraddha Kapoor, etc.
Release date: October 2, 2014

Haider is the third installment of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespearean trilogy after Maqbool (Macbeth, 2003) and Omkara (Othello, 2006). Adapted from Hamlet, Bhardwaj again sets Haider in contemporary India, this time in an insurgency-hit Kashmir of mid-1990s. In evidence of his growing stature as an auteur, Bhardwaj lays thick into the ample plot and characters of Shakespeare’s longest and complicated play, creating a movie that is as accomplished as it is ambitious. Though Bhardwaj the director is flawless, it is Bhardwaj the writer that surfaces as the tour-de-force of the movie – the screenplay and dialogues are top-notch, giving the movie a rich gravitas that its subject matter deserves.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Enemy (2013)

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Sarah Gadon, Mélanie Laurent, Isabella Rossellini.
Release date: October 27, 2013 (Abu Dhabi Film Festival)

With his latest thriller, director Denis Villeneuve further cements his position as a master filmmaker and auteur. With Enemy, he continues to employ the fearless but precise form of story-telling that has become his mark, engaging the eyes, ears and mind of the audience in a complete visceral experience. It is more complex and spatial than his previous two films – Incendies and Prisoners, both top-notch thrillers in their own right – leaving the audience with a lot to think about and dissect.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Godzilla (2014)

Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron-Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn, others.
Release date: May 15, 2014 (UAE)

It took them a good 16 years, but Hollywood has finally got it right: Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla is a massive achievement in realizing the King of Monsters for the big screen. The director takes his time in finally showing us the mean giant in his movie, but when Godzilla does finally and fully appear, do remember to pick your jaw from the floor. The movie gives the big beast the essential treatment he deserves that was severely lacking from his previous big screen outing: awe, respect and spectacle. This ensures that the new generation has a reason to enlist in the fandom of the greatest movie monster ever.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Lego Movie (2014)

Directed by: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Voices of: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, others.
Release date: February 06, 2014 (UAE)

Everything is indeed awesome in The Lego Movie, a charming yet madcap animated comedy set in a world entirely constructed of legos – those little play bricks that children (and adults) build out their imagination with. In the movie, the legacy of lego-building is coupled with a modern and pop-culturally hip storytelling, all visually depicted in the bright-coloured cuteness of legos. Therefore, children and adults alike will have lots to enjoy in the film, regardless of whether one has indulged in these little play-things or not.