Dunkirk (2017) Movie Review: Technical Mastery Triumphs Over Content?

Directed and written by: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles and Fionn WhiteheadContinue reading “Dunkirk (2017) Movie Review: Technical Mastery Triumphs Over Content?”

Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014) Movie Review

Ever since they produced Iron Man in 2008, Marvel has been actively producing movies based on their iconic comic books, some of which have made for enjoyable and memorable movie viewing such as Thor, and The Avengers amongst others. Given the fact these movies have largely been successful, it was only a matter of time before the rest of the superheroes and comic books from the Marvel universe made their big screen debut. The latest cinematic offering from Marvel being The Guardians of the Galaxy – a movie adaptation of the popular Marvel comic book franchise of the same name.Continue reading “Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014) Movie Review”

‘The Movie Club’ screens ‘The Dark Knight’ at O15’s Cafe on 20th July 2014

This Sunday ‘The Movie Club’, a Blu-ray movie screening initiative by Sony DADC, will screen Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster ‘The Dark Knight’ based on the Batman series by DC comics. Fans can enjoy a free screening of this epic movie that stars Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman at 015’s Cafe, Andheri West.

The Movie Club makes this blockbuster even more exciting by screening it on high definition along with interesting footage from the film’s behind the scenes. Batman fans can also dress up as their favourite character from the film and win an exciting gift hamper.Continue reading “‘The Movie Club’ screens ‘The Dark Knight’ at O15’s Cafe on 20th July 2014”

Man of Steel(2013) Imax 3D: Movie Review

Hollywood Studios seem to have found a formula to mint money, which is to make movies based on comic book superheroes. In the past, Hollywood had produced many Superhero movies, but the success of Spider-Man changed the way Hollywood looks at these films. Suddenly Hollywood realized wasting time in creating new action blockbusters is futile, when they can just use comic book characters which already have huge fan base and audiences who will readily shell out money to watch this.Continue reading “Man of Steel(2013) Imax 3D: Movie Review”

The Dark Knight Rises Movie Review – The Trilogy Falls

The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR) was something which I have been waiting to watch for the past one year.  I am a huge Nolan fan for a very simple reason that I do not think any Hollywood director arrests an audience all over the world including India and takes you to a completely different world visually and then explains everything simply in a meticulous fashion without you feeling confused as to what the hell is going on. He is often called over rated for explaining things too much, which most people said was the case in Inception. But it is due to this explaining, the movie appealed to even the common man and became such a huge hit in India.  He is best commercial director in Hollywood that there is.

Having said that, the expectation from TDKR was immense, but let me make one thing very clear at the start of the review that I did not have the The Dark Knight (TDK) hangover.  TDKR starts off superbly, the first 20 minutes is gripping, has a  good pace and is engaging. After that,  it just meanders through the first half consistently lacking in pace and having a high quotient of drama. I have not seen this much drama even in Nolan’s more emotional film like The PrestigeTDKR is over written and for the first time I felt that the words had overtaken visuals in a Nolan film. Whenever it seemed like the film is picking up the bol bachan ruined it. It lacked the edginess that TDK had and a pure atmospheric grip that Batman Begins provided. TDKR was more similar to Batman Begins than TDK, but not in a good way.

The relationships between the characters seem scattered and not enough to sink your teeth in to, because of which you cannot seem to make a connection or an emotional attachment with anyone throughout the film. Be it Batman & Catwoman, Batman & Blake, Batman & Miranda, Gordon & Blake, so on and so forth. The back story was sketchy and again verbose rather than visual. The characters were underdeveloped which was the biggest problem for me being a Chris Nolan film. It was shocking to see the characters being under developed. All your favourite characters of the first two parts  lacked proper footage on-screen which made it very frustrating. The likes of Fox (Morgan Freeman) and Gordon (Gary Oldman) had very little to do in terms of taking the story forward and were merely used as set pieces. More footage was given to likes of Anne Hathway (Catwoman)  and Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) Catwoman especially seemed undeveloped and really unwanted in terms of story. I still do not clearly know where she came from and why was she supporting Bane so much to let the city be destroyed. Lot of questions were left unanswered.

All this wouldn’t have mattered so much to me, if at least the power that we were supposed to feel when Bane and Batman came face to face for the first time was better executed and felt. There was a pure loss of rivalry, it seemed you can’t really feel strongly about their confrontation and even though the physique and stature of both the guys were huge you don’t really feel that mammothness. The only scene which arrests you is when Bane beats the hell out of Batman  in the underground sequence. Bane was my favourite character in the movie. The way Tom Hardy managed to emote through only his eyes and especially his voice was just A grade. The narration lacked a flow that we are so used in any of Nolan’s films. It doesn’t matter how confusing his films are,  the narration makes it easier to be on the right track and TDKR though not confusing derails us because of the  narration.

The action sequences are edge of the seat especially the Batman entry sequence and best of all the football stadium blowing sequence. The film looks amazing visually and creates the atmosphere that was needed. But, what it lacks is that you just can’t feel the tension that Gotham city is getting destroyed and there is no one to save it, you are just not rooting for Batman to come back and that basically breaks the backbone of the film. The screenplay seems too crowded and going on in different directions, which affects the overall premise of the movie. Like for example, the whole Harvey Dent angle didn’t have anything to do with the overall context of the film. All said and done kudos to the fact that Nolan has not missed an angle in TDKR he has pulled out all the stocks, bringing together all the elements of the previous two movies in to this one and the story comes out full circle making it a proper sequel.  The whole Ra’s Al Ghul’s (Liam Neeson) angle from the first one which led to form the crux of the story and the whole Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) angle from the TDK which kicks off the movie in an interesting fashion.

TDKR had a lot of good potential which went to waste because of sloppy narration, too many characters and an uneven pace. It doesn’t grip you for 2 hrs 45 minutes of its duration , making you  very uninterested on the events unfolding on-screen. So much so that when the final twist of the film * Spoiler Alert* about Miranda being a villain comes out, you are not really in a flow of the narration to be shocked. Every great story deserves a great ending, this one had great ending, the problem was the rest of the film lacked greatness.

Dangerous Ishhq – Exclusive 4 min showcase

Following in the footsteps of acclaimed filmmakers like James Cameron and Christopher Nolan who managed to showcase their reels of Avatar and The Dark Knight Rises for few minutes to a preview audiences and in the case of Steven Soderbegh for Haywire to online audiences, Vikram Bhatt has released a 4 min 22 sec video clip for audiences to his new 3D horror/ thriller Dangerous Ishhq. Slated as the comeback of Karisma Kapoor do check out the same and decide if you want to venture to a cinema hall or stay away from it.

Christopher Nolan – Picasso Of Filmmaking

Chris Nolan can do with movies, what Picasso could do with paintings. Nolan was born in London and spent his childhood in both London & Chicago. Nolan found an interest in botany and dicots early on until he found his father’s camera.

I’ve always loved films. I started making films when I was seven years old and I haven’t stopped. I never really thought about doing anything else. What I love are films that create their own particular geography, a particular world and immerse you in it for a couple of hours — Christopher Nolan

Some of the trends in Nolan’s Films:

  •  His characters in the films have some kind of mental disorder or fear. Be it in Memento, Batman Begins, Insomnia, Following.
  • The protagonist will have negative shades & there is always a constant battle or they have inner fear that they have with themselves to overcome .
  • His heroes are never perfect & they always have some kind of defect in them.
  • Nolan’s films often feature a non-linear narrative presentation (Following, Memento, The Prestige, Batman Begins) and psychological themes.
  • His films will mostly be high on concept.

The film which influenced him in his youth, he says, was Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner which he admired for its visual complexity. He started by directing several short films. The most notable among them is DoodleBug with Jeremy Theobald who later starred in his first feature film Following.

The movie was of course a start of many to follow psychological thrillers. The film shows a journey of a struggling writer who decides to follow random people in search of some interesting story. In doing so he gets involved with the conman/petty thief and soon he is robbing people’s homes & getting involved in things he shouldn’t be. Its shot in black & white & has just half the length of most of his films. Its gripping to watch & the performances are good. The twist at the end is just superb. What’s incredible about the film is that if you take Ra.One’s budget you can make 100 Followings. It was made with just $6000 by working with friends. Its amazing what he could do with $6000 most people are not able to achieve with millions of dollars today. The success of ‘The Following‘ resulted in the Maverick’s next, Memento.

This is based on a short story by Jonathan Nolan who has also co-written The Prestige & The Dark Knight. The reverse story telling of the cult classic Memento makes it my favorite movie of all time. The revenge saga with the Nolan mark is a most twisted piece of art you can see. The movie starts with the ending and ends with the beginning. The protagonist is looking for revenge for his wife’s murder but he cannot recollect anything after the murder and his current memory cannot be for more than 15 mins. He takes snaps of the people that he meets and categorizes them in the form of writing to make sure he knows who they are. The tattoos are also incorporated in the body telling him about the various things and events that has so far occurred in his life. This movie will suck you in & make you feel that you’re the person suffering from the 15 minute memory loss. This is the movie which has the repeat value of the highest proportion, and there are several reasons for it. It is an absolute joyride, insanely entertaining & the most important reason of all-it is almost impossible to grasp it all in a single viewing. Like most of his films he has shown a unique talent for creating full fledged feature out of a concept. The screenplay basically plays backward before winding back to the start again. Every scene in Memento is a suspense and puzzle piece.

The performance by Guy Pearce is right up there & he manages to appear confused & revengeful at the same time. Carrie-Anne Moss does a good job in getting just the right amount of mystery & untrustworthinees needed for the character. The way how Carrie-Anne Moss & Joe Pantoliano become the memory & the brain of Leonard Shelby respectively makes you wonder whom to trust & you feel like they both are manipulating him for their own advantage. The twist in the end will twist your head. When you are done watching the film you’re still figuring out what hit you, what happened. Hours after watching the movie you’re still thinking and rewinding the movie in your head trying to get the answers. I can only imagine how they must have edited it. Back & forth, story in reverse, but not a moment in the movie do we feel that he has lost the plot or he doesn’t know what he is doing. This is what you call an intelligent man’s movie. It will fry your head off but when you’re done with it you will be just be sitting there savouring and recollecting what just hit you.

Then came Insomnia an adaptation of Norwegian director Erik Skjoldbjærg’s film of the same name, a suspense/thriller starring Al Pacino and Robin Williams. It is a story of two Los Angeles homicide detectives who are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn’t set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen. The film is good and Nolan’s direction was totally in control. The pace, slower than usual Nolan films, is in sync with Al Pacino’’s state of mind but avoids boredom by really picking up in the action scenes. The photography is beautiful & brings some cold beauty to the picture. The color tones in the film which is dark & bleak really adds to the mood of the film. Twists are kept to a minimum, and the plot itself is fairly straightforward. It was refreshing to see Robin Williams in such a complex role & Hilary Swank holding her own even in presence of such great actors. Al Pacino as an Insomniac is just unreal. The thirst for perfection & the hunger for excellence is such a treat to watch from this man. However, such is the benchmark & standard that Nolan has set for himself, that I have to say that this film was his weakest work.

Every magic trick consists

of three parts, or acts

The first part is called “The Pledge.”

The second act is called “The Turn.”

The hardest part.

The part we call…

“The Prestige”

The story of two magicians trying to out do each other. The storytelling is complex & confusing. The performances are mesmerizing & the amount of detailing in the production design, magic tricks & the cinematography are terrific.  It’s a complete departure from his previous work. This one took him to a territory we have never seen him in. A period film with a large budget compared to his previous work. The twists & turns in the screenplay are a plenty. The constant back & forth cuts in to the time & places are riveting. It’s so unpredictable that you will soon give-up hope of predicting anything correctly about the film & just go where it takes you. If the movie goes over the  head of  people then it is completely understandable. Because this is what Nolan can do & he is becoming supremely good at it. The movie will make you irritated, confused, exasperated, frustrated but before it’s over… you’ll fall in love with it. The writing is of the highest caliber. The first 20-25 minutes of the film is confusing but then things slowly starts to come together & you are completely engrossed in to it. The running time of over 2 hrs doesn’t feel like it, because there is no time to think over it as there is so much happening in the film & you will be completely hooked in to it. Also, the way he has managed to hold the various sub-plots & relationships in the film. Be it the relationship between Bourden & Sarah, the rivalry between Bourdon & Angier, the relationship between Angier & Cutter. And all of these woven around the main theme ‘Magic’ is effortlessly done by Nolan.

His most commercial film came out in the form of  Batman Begins. The Batman movies made prior to this where generally made as super heroes movies usually are, childish fantasies and not to be taken too seriously. However, Nolan decided, let’s get serious. He did what no one else could:

  • Showed that Super-Heroes were Vulnerable, Scared, Indecisive, Human.
  • Made you feel you dint want to be a super-hero just seeing what Bruce Wayne had to go through to become one.
  • For the 1st time the super-hero movies were serious, made you think, scared you & not just a no brainer movie.
  • The super hero didn’t come from some other planet.

When you start watching Batman Begins you actually don’t feel like you are watching a super hero film. You feel like you are watching a super action suspense thriller. The whole feel of the film is different. Nolan started the story of Batman Begins right from ground z ero and it was co-written by David “Blade” Gover. The story starts with Bruce Wayne, the Super-Hero off the film actually feeling scared & vulnerable. The man even though scared decides to overcome his fears & fights crime, hence ends up being trained by Liam Neeson. Bruce Wayne then returns to the city & fights crime after differences grows between Bruce Wayne & Henry Ducard who actually thinks that Gotham City has become corrupt & too much crime goes around & everyone should die & be destroyed.

The action sequences in the film are real & high-octane  without being  fantasy based which we are so used to while watching a super hero movie. The Gotham city is all glossy and glamor on the outside but Nolan makes sure that the underbelly of the city doesn’t go unnoticed. The amount of talent that came together in the film-Christian Bale, Micheal Caine, Liam Nesson, Gary Oldman, Katie Holmes, Tom Wilkinson, Morgan Freeman is overwhelming. However, you never feel that any of these actors were just there for the heck of it. Everyone was there for a reason and had their fair share of the pie in terms of the role. Something like these can only be pulled off by the man of the caliber of Nolan.

Oh, hee-hee, aha.

Ha, ooh, hee,

ha-ha, ha-ha.

And we thought Nolan or anyone couldn’t top Batman Begins.

‘The Dark Knight‘ was a follow-up to the Batman Begins. What a sequel it was, the best sequel we must have ever seen. The ever troubled Gotham City is back with the regular bunch of criminals and the man

– I know why they call him the Joker.
– Why do they call him the Joker?

I heard he wears makeup.

– Makeup?

Yeah, to scare people.

You know, war paint.

The Joker

In The Dark Knight,

Joker wants Batman to reveal his identity to the city & he will not stop until he sees him do that. He is menacing & he will not stop at anything. Nolan did something that only Nolan could do. He turned the Joker in to a dark & complex devil. From the scars on the face to the make-up, the licking habit, the way Joker laughs & walks, Nolan completely changed the Joker, just like he changed the Batman franchise. Heath Ledger will never be forgotten for putting in the greatest performance ever seen in a villainous role. Nolan does not reveal till the very end what Joker really wants. Like the first time he walks up to the bunch of criminals and tells them that

It’s simple. We, uh, kill the Batman.

If it’s so simple, why haven’t

you done it already?

If you’re good at something,

never do it for free.

Here it looks like he is doing it for money. But near the climax of the film he burns down the money. Then, it’s in the climax everything is reveled. How do you deal with a man whom you can’t bargain with makes it so scary. The tension built with the racing pace, color tones & the mind-boggling cinematography was the reason for the fear that you get that Gotham city will be destroyed. Visually speaking, action did as much talking in the film as much as the dialogues. It was never over the top or gimmicky either. The story & screenplay was just brilliant. Some of the sequences can never be forgotten. The highway sequence where the Joker is captured is pure edge of the seat stuff.

The performances by all the actors were brilliant. Even though it was the Joker who steals the show. Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Christian Bale manage to hold their own & give able support to Joker. The action sequences are at a amazing level, you can watch it a number of times & still feel the same thrill. One thing that can go against The Dark Knight however, has to be that it was tad too long & it could have been 15-20 minutes shorter.

He does this everytime, I don’t know how but he does it everytime. He always manages to prove us wrong that his next won’t be as good as or better than his previous movie. Inception is arguably his most complex and confusing commercial action film. To be really frank with you, there can’t be spoilers when it comes to Inception because it gets very difficult to properly explain it to someone without him thinking that either you’re stupid or we are just a fan of Yash Raj kind of films and only pretending to like it. Inception as most of Nolan’s films is a high concept epic. The basic plot is simple. A group of high end conmen led by Leonardo DiCaprio – Cobb, Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Arthur, Ellen Page – Ariadne, Tom Hardy – Eames are men who steal secrets from the dreams. They get a proposal from Ken Watanabe  – Saito to plant an idea which is called as Inception into his competitor’s son.

Just to give a small brief,if you miss a minute of this film, you can pretty much forget about understanding it. The confusion is there, the dream within the dream and the constant dwelling in to the subconscious of the human mind if not paid attention to can give you nightmares but that’s the fun part, the screenplay though confusing is never too crowded and is always going on smoothly in the right direction. The jargons are kept to the minimum which also helps to keep us in pace with the movie. Dialogues are mostly used to explain the scenes. The storytelling is masterly in the way in which Nolan blends in the love story of Cobb and Marion Cotillard – Mal with minimal fuss and ease. It astonishing how he manages to pull off this because it could have been a total joke or a disaster but like a true master pulled it off.

The action sequences are lavish and superb, especially the Matrix kind of stunt in the hotel. The production design needless to say is top of the line and special effects leave you breathless. The cinematography and background score add more substance and emotions especially in the parts of Cobb and Mal. It is an emotional journey as much as an action roller coaster, and something that you must watch at least once, because I don’t think we will get to see something like this made by someone like him and being as good as this.

This man has already achieved so much in such a little time that it scares me whether he will be able to live up to this or top it up. He has literally changed the way we view films . He makes film viewing a maze which we are trying to figure out and the most amazing part in all of this is that he is not like those people who always tries to show off as how good he is with his camera placements, atmospheres and editing though he is a utter genius and and poles apart from anyone else you won’t feel like he just did that for showing off or anything like that and it is mark of a great man, the greater the human being the humbler he is and he signifies it. He has changed cinema in so many ways be it

  • The unique story-telling style & playing with your mind
  • Giving us something different everytime without repeating himself
  • The complete make-over of the super hero genre
  • Giving cinema one of the greatest villain of all time Heath ‘Joker’ Ledger
  • Keeping the audience’s engaged and on the edge of the seat for more than 2 hours
  • Making the movie viewing a roller coaster ride and making us take out emotions which we rarely use while watching a movie

All I can tell Christopher Nolan is that do whatever you are doing, keep doing because we just can’t get enough of it.