Thursday, September 20, 2018

Destination Wedding (2018)

What happens when two nihilistic and bitter intellectuals are stuck together for a weekend in a strange new place, and forced to celebrate a happy couple's nuptials? Destination Wedding paints that picture for you in a hilariously smart fashion!

Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder had starred in three other movies before this one. So, it goes without saying that they have great chemistry. Reeves plays an advertising executive, while Ryder is a lawyer specializing in civil and social injustice issues. Both are incredibly smart, and at the same time, cynical of the world. These two end up sitting next to one another on their flight to the destination (for a wedding, as the title suggests), have adjacent hotel rooms, and are put on the same table at the wedding. They repel one another cause they are basically the same! Cherry on top is the fact that Winona Ryder's character was engaged to the groom a few years back. And, the groom is Keanu Reeves' estranged half brother.

A bit shorter than 90 minutes, the whole movie focuses on these two characters, their conversations and witty banter. You see other actors in the background, but they don't have speaking roles. Victor Levin, the movies' director and screen writer, needs to be commended for his brilliant dialogue, beautiful long shots, and making a film that may not work on the paper - particularly in the era of superheroes and audiences with possibly the shortest attention spans in history.

I loved the dialogue, acting, and the whole movie as a device for the screenwriter to express his world view! I give the movie a 10/10 for this bold effort.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

Bigger, louder, flashier, and more brutal than the predecessor, Chapter 2 delves deeper into the league of assassins. It's a well-made movie with nice practical effects and choreography, but at the same time, the great number of head-shots might make you numb halfway through the movie.

If you have seen the first John Wick movie in 2014, you'd have a pretty good expectation of the action, style, and the deep and detailed universe that the movie is set in. Events Chapter 2 start just a few days after the end of the first film and show how the titular character is trying to wrap up loose ends. But as it seems that the movie is about to slow down, a blast from the past hits John and pulls him back in.

The best part about the movie is the rich universe that it has created; from the Continental hotel to the tailors and sommeliers! Ian McShane particularly shines as the manager of the New York branch. Of course Keanu Reeves is great as well. His dedication to the stunts is somewhat comparable to Tom Cruise's. Other than these two, other supporting characters were not memorable, or even at points they were really annoying (I'm talking about Ruby Rose's character).

The story is interesting and compelling. It builds on what we saw in the first movie. Here John is not as sympathetic has he was there, but still he is the classic hero that you root for. As I mentioned, everything is super-sized in this instalment. However, too much of a good thing may not necessarily be good. As I mentioned earlier, the body count is so large that the fight scenes lose their allure.

Overall, it's a very entertaining and well-made movie. Fans of the first film should definitely watch it. I'd give it an 8.5/10. I am also curious to see where they will take the character for Chapter 3.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Oscar Results (2017)

Out of the 12 categories that I predicted, I got 10 of them right. I missed the best original screenplay - which no one thought would go to Manchester by the see - and best director. Saving grace is that Damien Chazelle, who had my vote, ended up winning. So overall, I'd like to say my score was 10.5/12 - which was better than last year!



Category
Nominees
Prediction
My Vote
Oscars
Best Picture
Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight
Directing
Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land
Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Best Actor
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling – La La Land

Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington – Fences

Best Actress
Isabelle Huppert – Elle

Ruth Negga – Loving

Natalie Portman – Jackie

Emma Stone – La La Land
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedge – Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel – Lion

Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis – Fences
Naomie Harris – Moonlight

Nicole Kidman – Lion

Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Best Original Screenplay
Hell or High Water

La La Land

The Lobster

Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

Best Adapted Screenplay
Arrival

Fences

Hidden Figures

Lion

Moonlight
Best Animated Feature Film
Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

My Life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle

Zootopia
Best Original Score
Jackie

La La Land
Lion

Moonlight

Passengers

Best Original Song
La La Land (Audition)

Trolls

La La Land (City of Stars)
Jim: The James Foley Story

Moana

Best Cinematography
Arrival

La La Land
Lion

Moonlight

Silence