This Movie’s Here To Make You Smile… And Stuff… : Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

The true beauty of “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” lies in its self-realization. For many a movie, two roads diverge into a yellow wood, and unfortunately they cannot travel both. The road the movies chooses can lead it to extremes, either a brilliant film or a film sitting through which would be torture for its viewer. Luckily SPvTW takes the right path.

1-2-3-4 Go! Bang Bang Whoosh Whoosh!

1-2-3-4 Go! Bang Bang Whoosh Whoosh!

The quirky characters who’re extremely stereotyped, yet seem to break all stereotypes only increase the “epic epicness” of this journey. There’s Michael Cera, playing the titular character Scott Pilgrim, who’s the typical (or maybe stereo-typical) 22-year-old, who’s just been dumped. He plays this role with great gusto. He is un-sure of himself, immature and on a fun-filled, sometimes surreal journey, to find his way. The female lead, is Scott Pilgrim’s supposedly “out-of-his-league” love interest, Ramona Flowers (whose hair reminds you of Kate Winslet, from Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind) played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a powerful performance that is perhaps the best of her career until now!

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Among the supporting cast which comprises of some splendid performances by Alison Pill, Ellen Wong and Mark Webber and Chris Evans, the ones that really stand out are Kieran Culkin who delivers the best performance in the film, as Scott’s 25 year-old gay best friend and room-mate; and Jason Schwartzman.

Edgar Wright performs fantastically behind the camera, for it required a special kind of insanity to make such a film! Michael Bachall gives a stunning screenplay which leaves you amazed with the great comedy like his earlier work, “21 Jump Street”.

They remind me of Jenko and Schmidt from 22JS

They remind me of Jenko and Schmidt from Jump Street

It is however the cinematography by Bill Pope, that breathes a new life into the film. His intricate filming of the well choreographed action sequences and the aestheticization of many sequences make the film a dish to relish!

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The one-lines are certain jokes could have seemed “lame” but the brilliant performance by the actors and the handling of the situation by Edgar Wright prevented that from tainting this beautiful film.

There’re mixed feeling about this film in the general public, but it is indeed a feel-good film that you simply need to enjoy.

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Before Midnight…

It is a fact, that:

  1. Richard Linklater is a genius
  2. Ethan Hawke is a genius and
  3. Julie Delpy is a genius.

When three geniuses get together to make a movie, Before Midnight is what you get.

“The difference between a caprice and a lifelong passion is that a caprice lasts longer”- Oscar Wilde

While the first two films (Before Sunrise and Before Sunset) were about the caprice, Before Midnight is all passion. With the characters as mature as they can get, serene camera work and a beautiful screenplay, Before Midnight is one of the finest movies of all time, leave alone that of the century. A horror movie with its sharp and often funny dialogues as its thrills and screams is what it can be called.

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Almost two decades have passed since the first movie but nothing has affected the brilliance of its leads. It seems Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy must have Doctorates in Jesse and Celine respectively. They still have their chemistry and, for the lack of a better word, are perfect.

Before Midnight is intimate and intelligent, and also undemanding in the best possible way, the story of two people who have all the cares of middle age but somehow retain the idealism and curiosity of their youth. It’s a secular, happier and more serious version of the first two films.  Linklater could have gone with a romanticized conclusion to the series but instead, being the visionary he is, presents us with a thought-provoking and realistic portrait of love and if it ever ends.

Just as in the other two films, what is miraculous about Before Midnight is the talking. Not talking things out, or talking things through, just talking. Two or more people having a conversation somehow turns out to be as gripping as a thriller.

The second scene of this film shows Jesse and Celine driving home from the airport: a scene that plays out, in one continuous take, for around seven or eight minutes. And what happens? nothing, or rather everything.

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The execution is spot on, from directing to the cinematography to the music. The entire film is made up in about 10 (superbly done) long shots but not for a minute is it boring.

But the reason why Before Midnight is truly engaging and moving is it because it accepts and shows us that a “happily ever after” is the stuff of fairy tales, for even a relationship as beautiful as Jesse and Celine’s must go through the ups and downs.

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Whether or not there will be a fourth chapter is a mystery, but if this this is the end, it’s the best possible conclusion any series could hope for: A masterpiece of the highest degree.

Before Sunset

It seems that whatever the genius, Richard Linklater, creates, is bound to be beautiful…

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Before Sunset is an extremely remarkable achievement in the field of cinema. Completely honest and riveting, It continues the conversation of its predecessor (Before Sunrise), nine years down the line. Their personalities have changed and they aren’t the full-eyed puppyish lovers they were. But the passion is still there. Before Sunset retains most of what was engaging about the first movie, it has its gentleness, its romanticism and its idealism

Before Sunset has set benchmarks with its technical skill.

It is not easy to shoot a take that is six or seven minutes long, not easy for actors to walk through a real city while dealing with dialogue that has been scripted but must sound natural and spontaneous. Yet we accept, almost at once, that this conversation is really happening. Yet one cannot sense any contrivance or technical difficulty. Hawke and Delpy wrote the screenplay themselves, beginning from the characters and dialogue created the first time around by Linklater and Kim Krazan. They lead up to personal details very delicately; at the beginning they talk politely and in abstractions, edging around the topics we (and they) want answers to: Is either one married? Are they happy? Do they still feel that deep attraction? And most importantly…

Were they intended to spend their lives together?

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The screenplay rambling, yet self-conscious, and at times it has the self-important sound of clever writing.

Linklater once again puts forward a marvellous directorial effort. He lets the scene speak for itself and what a speech it makes. The acting this time is much more mature and quite honestly it’s pleasure watching them them talk and argue as it all boils down to a terrific ending. Though a few may feel its a bit too open ended, it is one of the most memorable and well-conceived ending. You have to be patient, yes. But in the end your patience is rewarded. Before Sunset is almost the perfect sequel. Despite answering your questions, it still keeps you in the dark. Linklater,Hawke and Delpy put their heart and soul into the film and what they produce is one of the greatest films of the century.

What Was That? : Man of Steel

I wouldn’t call myself a superhero movie fan. I don’t read comics. I hardly ever care to get into any of the arguments surrounding what’s coming up next in a franchise of what happens next. In fact that is what I hate about superhero movies! There’s just so much buzz about them online and then what happens next? As Jason Statham said you could put his grandma in tights with a cape and a CGI loaded film would be the resultant “Block-Buster”!

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This Scene Sums Up The Argument Against Excessive and Un-necessary Special Effects/

The factors the made me waste my time on this film were, for starters Amy Adams. She is simply one of the best actors in Hollywood today and she showed her acting prowess by making every frame she was in, better. Another reason that led me to see Man of Steel was that it was the first film in the DC Cinematic Universe which will be bringing “Suicide Squad” to us next year.

With all the positives in the film exhausted it’s time to move on to the reasons as to why it was complete torture.

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Is That An Attempt At A #Duckface?

Henry Cavill’s performance as a “dark” Superman was a shot at territory uncharted on film for this particular character. It was, for the lack of a better word, lackluster and uninspiring! Michael Shannon does a half decent job as the antagonist General Zod, he did some good acting, but it’s the script that let him down. Russell Crowe too suffered because of bad dialogues, which unfortunately his acting couldn’t cover up for.

It is hard to believe that Christopher Nolan was the writer for this film! Man of Steel didn’t have any of the factors that make Nolan’s films so great. No “mind-numbing” twists, nothing.

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The cinematography too lets the film down. I knew I was in for a “darker” version of the classic superhero when I saw the opening with that Warner Brothers Logo, but the dark, “grey” tone of the film doesn’t bind well with the overall story and makes it a bit uncomfortable to watch. The one thing that made superhero films worth the watch was the visual effects. However, the visual effects in this film don’t have much aesthetic value, which makes it an even more dull watch.

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It is a very “choppy” watch, as there are constant cuts between the past and the present and between multiple events taking place at different locations at the same time, without letting the build up in a particular scene do any significant good.

Hans Zimmer delivers another stunning musical score! It is just surprising how one man delivers one mind-blowing piece of music after another without losing his touch! Although the music at times was used in wrong places and didn’t fulfill the need of the moment.

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Zack Snyder doesn’t do a good job behind the camera. This film is extremely disappointing and unlike his other outings like 300 or Watchmen, it isn’t even an all out entertainer!

All-in-all, unless you’re really interested in superhero movies, there’s no need to trouble yourself with seeing it. Just read a basic synopsis online to go into the movies that shall follow in this franchise. All it does is, make a Michael Bay Transformers version of our beloved Superhero!

A Film For The Ages: The Aviator

For me, what makes a great biographical film (or bio-pic) is that it should not feel or seem like a bio-pic in the first place! Although there are some great bio-pics that go straight out saying, “I Am A Bio-Pic” these are usually the ones made on the lives of more famous personalities, some examples being “The Social Network” (Directed by David Fincher, based upon the life of Facebook Co-Founder, Mark Zuckerberg) or “Lawrence of Arabia” (By David Lean, based upon the life of T.E. Lawrence). However, many a times, it is the films that you don’t perhaps know are bio-pics, or the ones based upon the lives of the people who changed the world in their day, but now lie forgotten in the ravages of time. The Aviator too, is one such story brought to life, by Martin Scorsese. 

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Leonardo di Caprio’s filmography boasts of some of the greatest films of all time. However, in my humble opinion his performance in this film, is his finest till date. Portraying the American Film-Maker, Innovator and of course, Aviator Howard Hughes. For those who aren’t quite acquainted with this illustrious historical personality. You can call him the Tony Stark, of the 1930s.

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Imagine one great actress from the modern age, portraying another great actress from the bygone days. Yes, Cate playing Kate. Katherine Hepburn one of the finest actresses to ever grace celluloid being portrayed by Cate Blachett who even won The Academy Award for this role. Katherine Hepburn’s independent and “fiery” spirit can be expressed with these words, which are her own, “If You Obey All The Rules, You Miss All The Fun!” Cate Blanchett perfectly captures that way of speaking, that body language with true grace!

Kate Beckinsale did a great job in the short role she has. She was almost un-recognizable from those awful vampire and other crazy creature movies.

One of my favorite shots, from the best scene in the film!

One of my favorite shots, from the best scene in the film!

Matt Ross, Alan Alda and Alec Baldwin deliver some stupendous performances, they increase the overall flavor of the film. I’d say the true hero of the film is Leonardo di Caprio, but no. Wondering if it’s Martin Scorsese? Martin Scorses who does a tremendous job or bringing this great project to life, who does complete justice to the brilliant script by John Logan is not the hero either. Screenshot (116) The people who truly steal the show are those working on the technical aspects. Everything from the music, to the production design, the costume, was perfect and truly gave the feel of a slick period film. Even the cinematography was breath taking and earned some well deserved Oscars!

That symmetry!

That symmetry!

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The Costume Design…

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Though the film is extremely well crafted and every moment on screen is filled with action, there are some scenes that are a bit disturbing. This can be noticed very well as the film takes a darker turn in the last hour.

In conclusion, “The Aviator” is simply a tale of a boy fulfilling his dreams, living his life as he dreamt. A corporate and a life lesson that stands will appeal to the audience of today as well…