Saturday, 27 October 2012

On the Road-review

Directed by Motorcycles Diaries Walter Salles,On the Road is the adaptation of the novel of the same name with Sam Riley,Garrett Hedlund,Kristen Stewart and Tom Sturridge as its mains cast with many wonderful cameos by many actors throughout the movie.

Set in in the forties,where people search and express themselves through jazz,poetry,alcohol and sex,On the Road is a journey of Sal Paradise(Sam Riley),an author who is currently having a writers block ,decides to  take a trip across America where he meets different characters and eventually finding or understanding himself and using it to finish his book.Among the characters he meet are the  erotic,free spirited Dean Moriaty whose character is the heart of the story and the young bride Mary Lou which is played by Kristen Stewart.

This is a film where the film  basically has no plot and I think that's why most of the reviews were negative.However, I do feel the film is faithful to the novel and it manages to cover all the themes like self discovery and  the pros and cons of putting life on hold in the movie thoroughly.While the film is faithful to novel ,Jose Rivera did take some liberty in addressing stuff that were only hinted in the novel such as Dean Moriatty bisexuality and that was refreshing for people who had read the novel.

As for the performance from the cast, everyone does justice to their respective roles but it is Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriaty steals the show.The casting for this particular character is the trickiest part of adapting this novel  because when you analyse this character you realise that despite being a jerk,a classic D-bag ,its his charisma and energy that makes the other characters to follow him blindly and some  falling for him.That's where Garret Hedlund was successful in playing this role.He exudes charisma and  is so mesmerising when Dean is basking glory and perfectly depict the lows in Dean Moriaty's life with  raw emotions and vulnerability.The last scene where we see Hedlund shivering,with a teary eye  asking for a lift from Riley's character is so heartbreaking . Plus his chemistry with all his costars is convincing especially with Sam Riley and Tom Sturridge.His  powerhouse performance in the film is something I would say a revelation  and definitely an  award worthy one.

Both Sam Riley and Kristen Stewart does an okay job but as I mentioned above is completely overshadowed by Garrett Hedlund,especially Kristen Stewart whose character is underwritten and only acts as a sex object.However there were some other standouts in terms of cameo performance in the film.Tom Sturridge as the quirky Carlo Maxx who is infatuated with Dean Moriaty and Kirsten Dunst as the a trapped Camille  definitely shines in their limited screen time.The scene where Carlo Maxx confesses his feelings for Dean to Sal and the scene where Camille chases Dean is some of the example of their respective  best scenes.Both Amy Adams and Steve Buscemi will definitely raise eyebrows with their cameos.

The cinematography is definitely one of the biggest plus of the film.Eric Gautier beautifully captures the gorgeous landscapes that are heavily featured in the film.Two time Academy winner,Gustavo Santaolalla produces yet another masterpiece that sets the tone of the film  that is true to the particular era.

The only problem I had was the same problem I had for the book,its treatment on the female characters.This is definitely not a women's film as  the female characters are seen as a sex object and a burden and I'm not that fond of that.

In a nutshell,On the Road is not a conventional movie that many will enjoy but definitely worthy giving a try.Its movie about life and self discovery where everything are depicted sometimes with subtlety and  sometimes explicitly.I definitely enjoyed the film mainly for it being loyal to the original material and the performance of the cast with Garrett Hedlund at the top of my list.If you do enjoy films like Into the Wild,this is definitely for you!

Possible Oscar contenders:

Best Adapted Screenplay- Jose Rivera
Best Supporting Actor-Garrett Hedlund (Top 5)
Best Supporting Actor-Tom Sturridge
Best Cinematography-Eric Gautier
Best Original Score-Gustavo Santaolalla


Friday, 26 October 2012

85th Academy Awards-Best Actress(round 2)

1.Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook(Predicted Winner)

- Jennifer Lawrence is no stranger to the Oscars.She got her first nomination at the age of 20 for Winter's Bone  two years back. and remains one the youngest actress to earn an Oscar nod .In the Silver Linings Playbook,Lawrence portrayal of the promiscuous Tiffany  who has some issues to sort of.Critics had been raving  her performance as very matured and honest and commended her oncscreen chemistry opposite Bradley Cooper.Besides ,she also has a solid  year  playing the lead in the Hunger Games which is a commercial and critical success and her performance as Katniss Everdeen  which was also critically acclaimed. Lawrence definitely has a better chance to win if campaigned as a lead instead of supporting category as that category is quite saturated this year with strong performances from Amy Adams and Anne Hathaway as the frontrunners.

2.Marion Cotillard for Rust and Bone

-Marion Cotillard is well known for her  bold choices of films both in french and English. Her portrayal as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose was one of the best performance in a biopic genre film and earned her an Oscar.This year,her portrayal of  the whale trainer Stephanie  who looses both of her leg in the french film Rust and Bone received positive reviews and created major Oscar buzz for Cotillard and her co-star Matthias Schoenaerts.

3.Keira Knightley for Anna Karenina

- Based on the Russian classics novel,Joe Wrights adaptation of Anna Karenina is a visual feast packed with memorable performance  from the cast especially Keira Knightley as the titular character.Anna Karenina is a multidimensional character where Knightley has  to embody all side of the Countess,a  doting mother,a young bride in a loveless political marriage,a highborn lady with  expectations and a finally a women in love.That's a huge task and  based on most critics she seemed to succeeded  pulling it off.I know many are not a fan of Knightley's work but I do find her interesting especially in these period  costume flicks where she seem to fit really well.If you had seen Pride and Prejudice,Atonement,A Dangerous Method and Never Let Me Go  ,you will get me.

4.Meryl Streep for Hope Springs

-Meryl Streep playing a women whose marriage is failing  due to the sexless marriage.Do I need to say more?Meryl Streep had played wider range of roles and still manages to keep the audience interested to her work.Some of the stuff she done in this film is definitely soemthing one would never thought Meryl Streep doing.

5.Mary Elizabeth Winstead for Smashed

-The Sundance hit Smashed  chronicles on the relationship of  couple whose relationship is built after their love for alcohol and what happens when one of them try to get sober.Just filmed in 19 days,Mary Elizabeth Winstead performance as the alcoholic teacher is described as raw,perfect and the best of her careers.

6.Ann Dowd for Compliance

-Another indie film that made a big splash in the festival circuit mostly for its controversial subject and scenes.I have never heard of Ann Dowd before but after watching this film I wanted more.It was a layered character that raises many doubts and Ann Dowd performance is definitely award worthy.Though the sensitive theme and her being quite unknown could affect her chance of getting a nod.

7.Quvenzhané Wallis for Beast of the Southern Wild

-Quvenzhane basically carried the film  by herself and was so  charismatic and engaging despite being so young .Her age could be the factor for her getting a nod and also working against her as younger actors are usually seen as a  part of a supporting category.

8.Michelle Williams for Take This Waltz

-The talented Michelle Williams playing a women who starts an extra-marital affair only to find out that its doesn't bring her much happiness that she hoped for.A film about monogamy by Sarah Polley packed with strong performance by Seth Rogen and Williams.The only problem is that this  film is released  early of the year and most of the buzz right now is focused on Sarah Polley's documentary  film which is most likely to win the category.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Hitchcock,Django Unchained and Stoker -trailer

The trailer for the film Hitchcock has arrived online.Directed by Sacha Gervasi, the film which explores the relationship of Alfred Hitchcock which will be played by the amazing Anthony Hopkins and his wife Alma Revile(Helen Mirren) during the production of the film Psycho.This is the second project focusing on the life of this eccentric director with another being HBO's The Girl.The trailer looks good and I'm impressed with how Anthony Hopkins looks unrecognisable in that prosthetic nose   and I reckon he will play the creepy role with ease.As usual,Helen Mirren presence is so magnetic that she completely overshadows Scarlett Johannson  in the trailer.Check it out.

I also included the trailer of   HBO's The Girl which is about Alfred Hitchcock's(Toby Jones) obsession of his lead star Tiffi Heldren(Sienna Miller) during the making of the film Birds.

Then the second trailer of  Park Chan-wook physiological thriller starring Mia Wasikowska,Matthew Goode and Nicole Kidman.While first trailer was Uncle Charlie(Matthew Goode) oriented with mystery around him highlighted,this trailer is more on about India Stoker(Wasikowska) and the sexual tension with her uncle.There's not even a single shot of  nudity or Uncle Charlie touching India and yet the sexual tension between these two character is so apparent.

Lastly ,I have included the second trailer of Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained.This trailer has a better look on Kerri Washington as Broomhilda Von Shaft  the slave of a ruthless plantation owner.


Directed by Bricks' Rian Johnson,this Sci-Fi time travel film has Joseph Gordon Levitt,Bruce Willis,Emily Blunt and Piper Perabo.

Set in 2044,Looper is about an assassin(called loopers) who is hired to kill the target from the future where time travel had been invented so that bodies can disposed easily without any evidence as in the future due to the invention of trackers ,its difficult to murder people.So ,Joe(Joseph Gordon Levitt) is a looper who has a dream to settle down in France when his contracts ends(when he has to kill his older self).But when the moment arises,he hesitates for a moment and Old Joe(Bruce Willis) manages to escape.When they meet in a restaurant after a long cat and mouse game,Old Joe informs to Joe that he is back to revenge the Rainmaker,a evil mob guy in the future  who is responsible for the death of his wife and other loopers.With him he has three coordinates of the possible location of the child that would grow up into the Rainmaker whether or not Old Joe kills the young kid and Joe killing his older self before he himself is murdered by  his bosses

While most time travel movies  tend to focus on the CGI and  futuristic setting ,the characters are usually are underwritten and lacks depth.That's the  opposite thing in Looper and that's why Looper works.Most of characters are well written with realistic characteristics.For instance, the similarities and differences between both the Old Joe and Young Joe.While both of them seem to  be a selfish  junkie and only thinking of themselves  throughout the film,the difference between them are cleverly written and portrayed.The character Sara is another beautifully written character .The only character I had problem was Kid Blue and Suzie which is played by Piper Perabo.

While the characters are well written,the screenplay does get slow during the second half and there were parts that were murky and confusing.Like other time travel film,when you do analyse the film thoroughly,there's a tone of plot holes.

 As for the cast,Joseph Gordon Levitt as young Joe delivers yet another solid performance  in this film.He manages to deliver a  strong performance with Wilis mannerism naturally  with some of his usual stuff and  not even a second he looks like he is trying too hard.He is definitely rising to become an action star.Bruce Willis plays his  part convincingly especially in the parts where his character has a moral dilemma when the storyline gets darker.

While the first half of the film is carried by JGL and Bruce Willis the second half of the film is completely owned by Emily Blunt and Pierce Gagnon who plays the mother-son duo.Emily Blunt delivers a feisty performance and her American is accent is near to perfection.Both her character and its portrayal serves as the heart of the film.Then we have Pierce Gagnon who plays the kid with the telekinetic powers who looses control easily.His performance are at par with adult co stars.His facial expression  during some intense scenes are superb  and definitely has a bright career ahead him.The shot where  he is covered in blood and staring JGL with a teary eyed is the best scene in the film and this kid handle the scene with ease.

I realise many were unhappy with JGL not looking as himself in the movie and almost looks like a cartoon due to the makeup and prosthetics.However I do find the makeup to be helpful and  it didn't bothered me much as the film progresses.The film has a nice balance of action scenes and scenes for character development and the technical team is quite strong too ,especially the visual effects

Overall,The Looper is an entertaining film packed with solid performances from the cast with a clever concept and script but the plot holes stops it from becoming a classic.

Possible Oscar contenders:

Best Supporting Actor- Pierce Gagnon
Best Original Screenplay-Rian Johnson
Best Visual Effects
Best Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing