The Secret Life of Walter Mitty [Movie Review]

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Review: With not much work to do at the moment, I thought it would be best to catch up on the past week releases. We already had put up ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, but along with it released a very different kind of comedy, more of a light hearted take on one man’s journey, to find himself. A quest to find your own inner self.

The Secret Life of Walter MittyYes, we are talking about ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’. Ben Stiller returned to direction after almost 5 years, his last outing on the big screen (as Director) being Tropic Thunder back in 2008, which he also starred in, just like the case being here. Ben Stiller stars in the titular role of  Walter Mitty, who day dreams. He is stuck up at the same work for the past 16 years in a magazine company where he works as the Negative Processes Manager. He has no wish to go up the ladder, nor does he sulk with his current position. He is a man who is happy being stuck up, who goes into an over drive day dreaming mode whenever something comes along; a man who contemplates his every move, his every wish and all this he successfully gives results to in his day dreams where (no points for guessing) he emerges as the hero. When his job and the job of his co-workers get threatened by a new acquisition, then Mitty takes on a life changing journey, which otherwise he would only have ‘dreamed’ of pursuing. An extra-ordinary adventure that lets him explore his inner self and teaches him something new, something he till now had only ‘dreamed’ of, but never actually took the initiative of doing.

Ben Stiller gives life to Walter Mitty’s character. It seems as if no other than Stiller himself would have been able to portray Walter Mitty. His insecurities, his wishes, his contemplation, all nuances of the character has been brought to life by the Director-Actor. Ably supporting him is Kristen Wiig, who is the girl Mitty pursues and who first becomes a friend, then a support and finally we see the blossoming of a new kind of friendship in the end.

As a Director, Ben Stiller does well. He didnt have to put all his energy and focus into brilliant cinematography, or capturing small nuances of every character. What he does is, he captures emotions well. Also when he himself plays the titular character, it becomes a tad easier to portray what he wishes to as a Director.

Verdict: In all its a nice take on the book adaptation of the book of the same name by James Thurber, and Ben Stiller does justice to the character of Walter Mitty, and he is able to take out good performances from the rest of cast as a Director. A good family entertainer, that will suit audiences of all ages. So, go ahead ‘Be Your Own Critic’ and decide whether to give Ben Stiller’s dual role a chance or a miss.

 

The Wolf of Wall Street [Movie Review]

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Review: Yes Yes, I know…. its a bit late but sorry, was caught up. So getting staright to business, the new Martin Scorcese film. Sorry…. the new Martin Scorcese – Leonardo Di Caprio film [ coz when they both come together, they create magic on screen, plus Leo has produced the film].

The Wolf of Wall Street is the screen adaptation of the book by Jordan Belford of the same name. Here is a guy who with his stock manipulations, takes wall street by storm. A guy who earns billions by the day, only to spend everything on sex, drugs and cheap thrills by the night. But like all, he too falls, as over confidence and his want of ecstasy sees that the world he created falling around him.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Leonardo Di Caprio sets the screen ablaze with a steller performance, playing the titular character as well as the narrator of this crazy movie. Appearing totally in control of his character, Leo very ably portrays how a young man trying to learn the ways of wall street becomes one day the man who would control it. The boy who never knew a thing of how to handle stocks, becomes the man who manipulates them. Mathew McConaughey short screen presence was well handled by him, as the man who first gives young Belford an account of the life at wall street. The rest of the cast does their job well and put up a good performance building around Leo. Finally the director Martin Scorcese himself has no doubt lets himself venture into waters unknown to him, but very ably swims ashore. Here is a man who is in a total control of his surroundings, knowing what to expect from each performer as he extracts that very thing out of them.

In all, The Wolf of Wall Street is a very different watch from Shutter Island [the last outing of Martin Scorcese and Leonardo Di Caprio together], but it is a very enjoyable watch. With no hard lines and words dwelving into the number crunching market’s terminology, it becomes easier for people of all backgrounds to understand the onscreen proceedings.

Verdict: I would say, the movie might be a bit long, running into almost three hours, but there is not a moment of dullness, go and give it a shot and ‘Be Your Own Critic’.

The Game is ON…. [Sherlock Season 3]

This is not a movie, but can be said as mini length, TV feature and is one of the highly appreciated, critically acclaimed TV series of this generation. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson, this BBC thriller is hard to miss. With the 3rd Season ready to roll early in 2014, heres a short mini episode to the highly awaited Season….

 

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [Movie Review]

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Review: Desolation of Smaug is the second movie of The Hobbit trilogy by Peter Jackson, and came out in December this year, with a decent footfall in the Indian multiplexes. It mainly comprised of people who either admire Jackson’s work and have watched the previous part (An Unexpected Adventure), or have read Tolkien’s fine novel, or just wanna catch a nice Hollywood flick having good vfx, graphics, and picturesque cinematography, with all that being in the 3D format. Well, it can be safely said that people belonging to the third category, could have not been disappointed in any way.

The Hobbit

The movie takes off from where it left in the previous installment, exploring the journey of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his Dwarf friends in their quest towards the Misty Mountains. Like all Jackson’s previous works, no one can complain that Tolkien’s story has been compromised in any manner. No detail has been left out, neither is any character. It can be said that the book in itself is the screenplay of the movie.

Running for an approx. 3 hrs, Desolation of Smaug shows the misfit Hobbit in the gang of Dwarfs still contemplating if he did the right thing by agreeing to this adventure, or was it still better to have been lazying around, reading a book back at his place at the Shire. What is interesting here, is that Bilbo here posses the One Ring, and with his innocence uses/wears it in more than one occasion. It can be seen the power of the ring trying to dominate over the heart of the Hobbit, and is still unable to take the better of him, as whenever Bilbo wears the ring, it is never for his profit, but only to save his friends. The elves of Mirkwood make an appearance. and is likely to be a companion though for their own interests, in the following movie. Gandalf was missing for a major part of the movie, but that will not be a miss, as whenever he was shown, he could be seen dealing with darker things. Things which if revealed here could spoil anyone who is yet to catch the flick. But for any LOTR fan, well…. they probably would by now have guessed what it is all about.

Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug, did not have much ‘acting’ to do, though as always his voice brought a sweet ring to the ears. He will have to though pull up his socks for the final chapter, as apart from voicing Smaug, he will be seen as the main antagonist, the ‘Necromancer’. Martin Freeman is a delight to watch as Bilbo Baggins, and it is very hard to imagine anyone else being able to play the part. He brings out all the emotions of a scared yet curious Hobbit, in the most perfect way possible. Jackson leaves no stone un-turned, and by now he can be safely called as the man who visualized Tolkien’s world in the best way possible. He by now is a master at creating Middle Earth for the silver screen. Be it the valleys, or the Kingdom of the Elves of Mirkwood, or the Misty Mountains, every thing has been created with utmost care, and no detail has been left out. The character, the actors, they all seem to be a part of Middle Earth, born and not made….

What We Think: If we compare between the two second parts of Jackson’s trilogies, i.e. The Two Towers (LOTR Part 2) and the Desolation of Smaug, then the latter wins by leaps and bounds. For starters, this is a more darker movie. Surely people would say that Two Towers had Sauron gaining power, but Smaug provides for an evil, which is powerful yet unknown. In both movies, Gandalf was missing for a major portion, and so evens out the proceedings. But what according to me clinches the title is the ever lasting sense of panic and urgency that can be felt in the Desolation of Smaug. And with the closing scene of the movie (which I am not giving out), I believe it nails why Desolation of Samug goes notch above the Two Towers.

Hope this helps. Its a good movie to catch if its running near you. So, ‘Be Your Own Critic’ and decide whether to go or to just wait a few days before downloading a print and watching it for free….

After Effects: Dhoom 3

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Well, it seems the trade pundits got this one a bit wrong, as Dhoom 3 fails to reach the fabled 100 Crore club in three days of its release, falling approx. 30 Crores short of its target and collecting an approx. 70 Crores at the Box Office.

Our Thoughts: Though the result seems satisfactory, what is surprising to note that the collection not only includes earning from the Hindi version, but also the earnings from the Tamil and Telegu versions as well. Moreover, Dhoom 3 has been released in IMAX format, which is expensive in itself, so the collected revenue does seem to be a shade falling short from what was expected from a Aamir Khan flick.

Dhoom 3 released on the 20th of December, 2013 and has opened to mixed reviews, from both critics and audiences.

Dhoom 3 [Movie Review]

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Movie: Dhoom: 3 [20/12/2013]

Review: Dhoom 3 is the third movie of the Dhoom franchise, that started almost a decade back in the year 2004 and was directed by Sanjay Gadhvi and starred John Abraham in the negative role for which he also earned a Filmfare nomination. Given the success of the film, the makers decided to turn it into a franchise and its second installment (also directed by Gadhvi) released in the year 2006. Hrithik Roshan had starred as the main antagonist in Dhoom 2. So obviously the expectations surrounding its third installment was sky high, but given the stakes at play it seems the 2013 Christmas release falls short of expectation, and that also by a good margin.

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Dhoom 3 is directed by Vijay Krishna Acharaya. The man who is more famously known for directing the 2008 box office debacle ‘Tashan’ and it comes as a surprise why the makers put faith in a person with such track record in the helm of things.

To begin with, hats off to Vijay Krishna Acharaya for rope in Aamir Khan in the movie, but its sad to note that its a casting gone awry. Neither is Aamir Khan suiting the charactr, nor is he looking villainous, he neither has that ‘I-dont-give-a-damn’ attitude that John brought in Dhoom, nor has he got those Greek Godly features that Hrithik boasts off. ABjr, Katrina Kaif, and Uday Chopra are more of mannequins and less of characters, as the entire movie seems to be revolving around Aamir Khan and only Aamir Khan.

In the acting department, Aamir shows his prowess and this comes out more in the post interval sequences, where he seems to be  more in control, after a somewhat haphazard first half. Also a noteworthy mention is that Katrina Kaif finally get a few dialogues, considering how scarce they were to come for her in the first half. Uday Chopra as Bachchan Jr sidekick is what he has ably done in the first two installments and here also he manages to stick to his ‘ok’ performance though at parts it does seem a tad too much. Also missing is the Abhishek – Uday chemistry that was visible in the earlier movies, and provided a somewhat relief to the otherwise thriller. Abhishek Bachchan’s first release this year and he does a decent job reprising his role as ACP Jai Dixit, and also he manages a better bike than the one he got in Dhoom 2.

The look out song is the song ‘kamli’ featuring Katrina Kaif, and must say that the choreography is amazing and Katrina Kaif has done a wonderful job. The amount of hard work that has gone behind the making of this song, can be felt and seen onscreen. The tap – dance featuring Aamir Khan in the starting credit sequence reminds very much of Hrithik Roshan’s own act in Dhoom 2 and could have been done away with. Besides this no matter how much ‘influenced’ has been the film-maker, he has to be given credit for capturing Chicago well. Pritam, in the music department has done a decent job, and the songs fit the onscreen proceeding well and doesnt hamper with the screenplay.

Though Vijay Krishna Acharaya doesnt seem to be out of his ‘Tashan’ hangover yet, when it comes to directing a movie, the fact that is getting overlooked easily is that this is the same guy who penned the earlier two installments, and he keeps up somewhat to this reputation of his.

Verdict: Too long chase sequences, no depth or showing how the robbery is done, very typical Dhoom ending, no reason why ABjr is in the States (the reason given is very flimsy), and yes Aamir Khan acted well.

In all avoid if you can, but given the year end, the movie may not be a Dhoom, but can be taken for a few laughs.

Hollywood Influences (if any): Now You See Me, The Prestige

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