2/26/11

TOY STORY 3 TO OSCARS, AND BEYOND!



If Toys Story 3 does not make you want to open the box full of old favorite toys, you probably are heartless.  Such is the impact of Toy Story 3 that it reduces its prequels to preludes. When the original Toy Story came out in  1995, the CGI was new and it impressed the audience. It was followed up by Toy Story 2 in 1999. Having watched
these movies much later when 3D animation had made large advancements, our complaint always was regarding their storylines which suited kids. As teens we could not entirely appreciate these.

2/24/11

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT AND WHY NOT?



The Allgoods form a happy family made up of a sporty boy, a smart girl, a loving mom and a loving mom…oh wait…So are they? Yes they ARE. Lesbians. And pretty good at that.

2/21/11

THE FIGHTER : TOTAL KNOCK OUT!



The Fighter tells the story of welterweight professional boxers Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his elder half brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale). The story fades in beautifully with the initial parts mostly describing their life and family in Lowell, a small industrial town in Massachusetts, USA. The story may of course in retrospect be inevitably compared to greats like the Rocky series and Raging Bull but in its heart, David. O Russel has taken a more Clint Eastwood-ish take on the subject, like the great did in Million Dollar Baby.

2/15/11

BLACK SWAN AND ITS "FAIR" CHANCES




Certainly one of the best directors of our time, Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) calls his latest masterpiece Black Swan , a companion piece to his Mickey Rourke starrer The Wrestler. In the words of Aronofsky himself,  "They are really connected and people will see the connections. It's funny, because wrestling some consider the lowest art — if they would even call it art — and ballet some people consider the highest art. But what was amazing to me was how similar the performers in both of these worlds are. They both make incredible use of their bodies to express themselves. They're both performers."

Black Swan follows the story of its protagonist, Nina (stunningly played by the brilliant Natalie Portman) a beautiful, young and graceful ballerina. She is innocent, her body and mind under-nourished, she is pure, immature. She is closed in a shell, imprisoned by a smother-mother, who appears to be sweet. Nina cannot lose herself, she cannot be aggressive. She is too polite to even act bad. That is where her ballet director Thomas, thinks she will play the White Swan perfectly, but lacks the aggression that is required to play the Black Swan in their reprise of the "Swan Lake". Thomas also thinks that Lily (Mila Kunis) and her approach to life and dance suits the role of the Black Swan. 

The movie touches various complexities in an artist. A sort of narcissism that attracts an artist to himself and also self loathing that repels. Aronofsky makes brilliant use of hallucinations, mirror images and twins to express this fight of one with his own self. He doesn't shy away to incorporate torn ligaments, skipped meals, straining limbs to portray the difficulty of the art and also he does not miss to show us the grace and beauty involved on the outside. This basic theme of good vs.evil, the white vs. black , of the 'Swan Lake' also sees incorporated in the narrative.

The claustrophobic sound editing and Matthew Libatique's capturing cinematography, makes the audience feel the fears and the pains of the protagonist. Everyone pulls off an admirable performance as far as acting is concerned, but Natalie Portman shines and holds the film like none other. Not only her ballet is perfect, but her effortless performance takes you closer to the protagonist. 

Nominated in 5 major categories in the Academy and a good run at BAFTA and Golden Globes, Black Swan promises to pull off a good show! The Acting honor for Natalie Portman looks the most certain but could also give a tough fight for the editing and the cinematography.

This is a movie that is absolutely gratifying thanks to Aronofsky's sublime touch. 

2/10/11

WINTER’S BONE IS THE LITTLE MOVIE THAT COULD

Winter’s Bone brings somber mood to the Oscar night. The Sundance Film Festival is believed to be the launch pad for independent movies to the Oscars. It is there where Winter’s Bone won the Grand Jury Prize, “setting off with soft explosion” .This has given it enough thrust to make the cut for the nomination list (and most Top 10 movie lists),but not farther.

In the grim mountainous lands of Ozarks, USA lives Ree Dolly, taking up the overwhelming responsibility of two kids and a socially withdrawn mother. The landscape is brutish, the children’s games point to a lifeless picture where Ree is shown taking pains for their survival through poverty. Ree is infact 17 years old and the kids, her
siblings.

Now Ree has her father to trace else she will lose her house and thrown to the streets with the two kids. As she finds only serious dissuasion on that road, she considers parting from her siblings and prepares the kids for the hard life.

And if Ree does not find her father (drug dealer, deserter, absconder and the guy who put his family in peril), she discovers him in a new light. The end hits with forceful intent, unfortunately it does not hit hard enough we find it for the reason that drama is lacking in the rest of the movie.

Character and performances definitely form the driving forces of the movie. Jennifer Lawrence in such a strong character of a teenager forced to grow up, proves immense potential. John Hawkes is excellent as the uncle Teardrop who stands behind Ree, filling the void left by her father.

The Academy has been know for giving a push to little movies, the two Screenplay categories have been a happy hunting ground for these with Little Miss Sunshine and Juno winning original screenplay in their years. Precious won it the next year for adapted screenplay. It is in this category Winter’s Bone is put. Small chance as The Social Network may walk away with the award. But it is the other Sundance hit, The Kids Are All Right that has a better shot at Best Original Screenplay trophy. Winter’s Bone will probably go the way of the win nothings
like The Wrestler. Hopefully it will do well at the Independent Spirit Awards like the 2008 Aronofsky classic.

The movie is like its protagonist. It is small but shows character even if gives only half the satisfaction.

2/7/11

TRUE GRIT AND HOW WE LIKE OUR WESTERNS



After getting a bad snubbing at this year’s Golden Globes, True Grit returned with a hammer to grab as many as 10 academy award nominations. Questions about its worthiness are better set aside because, though no one really gives True Grit a chance at the ceremony, all of these nominations we think are well deserved. 

Essentially, True grit is a movie about a daughter’s pursuit to nab her father’s murderer played by Josh Brolin.