The Jungle Book (2016): A Quick Review

THE JUNGLE BOOKIndian population can be divided in to 2 groups: Those who have watched Jungle Book on Doordarshan and those who haven’t- Only because they weren’t born then! This animated story originally written by Rudyard Kipling was synonymous with the 10 AM Sunday slot and most of us woke up ‘early’ with the song- Chaddi Pehen Ke- as the alarm clock.

While the song composed by Gulzar saab and Vishal Bharadwaj is retained as the promo song, the animated characters are beautifully brought to life by Jon Favreau. The simple story of a human-kid  Mowgli ( Neel Sethi) brought up by wolves (Akela and Raksha) and supported by his friends – Baloo (Bear) and Bagheera (Panther)- battling odds to defeat their arch nemesis- Shere Khan (Tiger) is a treat for the eyes and ears. Kaa (Snake) and King Louie (Orangutan) add to the fluctuation of the emotional graph with some tense moments and action to give this family movie a UA rating by the Censor board.

Continue reading “The Jungle Book (2016): A Quick Review”

Robert Langdon To return in “INFERNO”

Director/producer Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer have cast an energetic company of some of the world’s most talented and interesting rising international stars to join Tom Hanks in Inferno, the new film in Columbia Pictures’ Robert Langdon series, which has taken in more than $1.2 billion worldwide to date.The Imagine Entertainment production, which has a screenplay by David Koepp based on the book by Dan Brown, is slated for release on October 14, 2016 and will begin principal photography at the end of April.  The project’s executive producers are Dan Brown, Anna Culp, Bill Connor, and David Householter.Continue reading “Robert Langdon To return in “INFERNO””

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Movie Review: A Gorgeous Sad Wedding-Cake of a Movie

RATING: 9.5/10.

Although Wes Anderson cemented his place in passionate film-school discussions for years to come as soon as he released RUSHMORE in 1998, audiences have not always been as enthusiastic. It is understandable. Anderson, with all his strange unique visual quirks and simulated glass-ball worlds, is an acquired taste, at best, and impenetrably bizarre and distant, at worst. And yet, his films satisfy the fundamental requirement for movie-goers’ pleasure: escapism. Not even a schizophrenic would dare think any of Anderson’s movies were set even remotely close to the “real world” – his movies are not just flawlessly composed art, they are a vacation in Wes Anderson’s mind and memory, where I like to imagine that I can see a young socially uncomfortable Anderson spending hours in his room meticulously dreaming up this alternate universe with its distinctly cinematic point-of-view, its laconically disconnected characters and everything “just so” to the point of OCD. Since every event is filtered through Anderson’s picky subconscious, nothing too bad or sad ever happens in his movies. And that suits most of us just fine.Continue reading “The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Movie Review: A Gorgeous Sad Wedding-Cake of a Movie”

The Monuments Men (2014) Movie Review: A Tale of Art, World History and Persevering Men

The Monuments Men PosterMankind has always witnessed wars from time immemorial, bringing with it destruction and calamities with varying proportions. The two World Wars in particular over the last century brought about alignments and re-alignments among Nations as they fought for pride and a host of various other reasons. The Second World War (1939-45) affected almost all the Countries directly or indirectly and this was a period which saw not just devastation but also one man’s greed almost endangering the lives of millions of people. While Adolf Hitler’s plans of conquering the World are known to one and all, what’s not that commonly known is the fact that the Nazis under Hitler were also going about plundering art work and monuments across Europe, supposedly to be concentrated in a huge museum in Germany once the war ended. Despite the Nazis ending up on the losing side of the war, they would have succeeded largely in their attempt to plunder and/or destroy art, if not for a bunch of spirited men from the Allied Armies who went on to constitute the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Program (MFAA), also known as Monuments Men.Continue reading “The Monuments Men (2014) Movie Review: A Tale of Art, World History and Persevering Men”

The Monuments Men (2014) Movie Review: Bring Back Soderbergh!

Language : English | Running Time : 118 Minutes | Director : George Clooney

What is this art they are salvaging and where is the urgency of the task at hand are two questions that pop up prominently as you watch George Clooney‘s The Monuments Men. These are two questions among many. Some of the other questions that pop up during the movie are : How far are we with the twitition to convince Steven Soderbergh to make films again? Is “Highway” one of the most beautiful Indian films to have come out in the last year? Why is the popcorn too salty? Did I lock the door to my house? The Monuments Men throws up these questions because of the rabble that it is. It is surprising that this is a movie from the same director who directed the sensational “Good Night and Good Luck”

The Monuments Men is a movie based on the true story about people who were enlisted in the salvaging of art during the Second World War. In the movie, it is a team of men from different walks of life assembled  together and led by Frank Stokes(George Clooney). The team reminds you of Danny Ocean’s Eleven or Twelve or Thirteen from the Ocean’s trilogy because of the actors it employs and also because of George Clooney leading the team.Continue reading “The Monuments Men (2014) Movie Review: Bring Back Soderbergh!”

An Ideal Sunday: With Avunu, Moonrise Kingdom and Dredd

All those who know me to an extent are aware about my Friday Syndrome. They also know that for me Sundays are also by and large utilized for catching up on multiple films at a single screen/multiplex. Being in Mumbai one has the advantage of catching up with films of various languages, an aspect that works well with me. So for this Sunday ( i.e 23d September ) the films I chose to watch at the cine mandir were Avunu ( Telugu ), Moonrise Kingdom and Dredd. So here’s a brief look how the day went by for me in the company of these 3 films and more.Continue reading “An Ideal Sunday: With Avunu, Moonrise Kingdom and Dredd”

Moonrise Kingdom : Young at heart!

MOONRISE KINGDOM

Directed by Wes Anderson

Cast: Jared Gillman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Tillda Swinton

Music by Alexandre Desplat

 

It is no fun being a lonely soul out there. Unless, of course you are right in the middle of a Wes Anderson-world , in which case you are in for a whole different quirky realm of things. Sticking to his trademark style and tone, Anderson returns with a charmer in the form of Moonrise Kingdom, obviously paying no heed to his detractors. However, this time the auteur has indeed come up with a more accessible live feature film when compared to most of his works since Rushmore.

The film opens to an interesting tracking shot with no cuts that introduces us to the Bishop household reducing them to dolls in a playhouse of sorts. As we see these characters onscreen, we also hear in the background a record being played, which teaches young listeners on how to breakdown a symphony to its various individualistic elements.

Anderson’s symphony is created when the sleepy neighbourhood community of a fictional island wakes up in pursuit of young 12 year old Sam, who not only has run away from a Scout camp, but also taken his pen pal Suzy Bishop along with him.  The twelve year olds run away search of their own kingdom, but the world they left behind is bent on tracking them down and to ensure that there is no ‘happily ever after’ to this young budding romance.

Breaking down the symphony, you realize that all the characters cut a lonely figure, each in their own search amidst their existence of solitude. Sam (Gilman) is an orphan boy and the least popular member of the scout team by a “significant margin’”. Even his foster parents seem to have abandoned him. Suzy Bishop (Hayward) on the other hand,  is one longing to be away from the family that she already has. She is content to remain elusive and prefers the company of her fantasy books, the borrowed plastic record player and the binoculars through which she views her world.

It is just not the two young ones that we see having issues. In their world, the adults are the ones that really could use some help. For starters you have the estranged Mr. and Mrs. Bishop (Murray, McDormand) who are lawyers by profession but drifting apart as a couple. Mrs. Bishop is supposedly even having an affair with the reticent cop, Chief Sharp (Willis), the man with an aching heart. And to wrap it all up, we have the Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) who is still struggling to find his footing in life believing that managing Camp Ivanhoe is what he is destined for.

A search for the lovers on the run becomes an excuse for each to turn a better leaf. However that is not to be until the foretold storm hits the town.

The young talents Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, both first timers, put in a fantabulous effort in their debut outing. They emerge triumphant in holding their own in a cast that features some of the biggest heavyweights of the industry vying for screen space. No small feat that!

As for the rest, well, Bill Murray is Bill Murray as usual. Just his mere presence will do to lighten us up and bring on the smiles. The man who really surprises you though is Bruce Willis. Many did wonder how would Willis manage to fit into this Anderson world, and the restrained effort from the man really works.  Edward Norton also gets to have a ball, channeling some of the Owen Wilson goofiness at times along with a lot of his own to bring us a nice mix. Frances McDormand also puts in a fine show while  Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwarzman drops in for small cameos in this assortment.

The choice of colors and soft palettes has been one of the highlights of this project ever since the posters and teasers for the movie surfaced online. Anderson manages to sketch out a fable kingdom out of his visuals and sets and backs it up by giving the film a nostalgic flavour. Equally commendable is the writing of Anderson with Roman Coppolla, whereby they successfully manages to keep the film’s screenplay at the level of the younger lead protagonists without succumbing to the star powers of the rest of the bunch.

Andersonis very detailed with the sets, the angles and the lines. You can experience that in every frame. The writing brilliantly elevates some of the scenes like the one where McDormand’s character apologizes to her husband over a stormy night or the man to man talk shared by Willis and young Gilman over a drink.

Well, of course, the praises for this movie shall remain incomplete without mentioning the soundtrack. Leading the pack is the popular track ‘Le Temps de L’Amour’ from Francoise Hardy. There are some original compositions from composer Alexandre Desplat (The Kings Speech, The Tree of Life) along with a few classical compositions and even some Hank Williams thrown in for good effect. And this weird mix of genres does manage to make a lasting impression.

If you are already a fan of Wes Anderson, then you would enjoy this nostalgic tale of childhood innocence immensely. And if you aren’t, then there has been no better opportunity than this to jump onto the bandwagon and embrace his unique body and style of work. After all, Moonrise Kingdom is a short and sweet tale told with whole lot of art and equal doses of heart!

 

– Joxily John