Magnificent and deeply moving! Totally delightful and charming, Saving Mr. Banks is surprisingly a wonderfully made untold biopic of the the author of the classic "Mary Poppins" and comes across as an impressive tribute to the Disney heritage. Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks gave excellent lead performances as the "stone-hearted" Mrs. Travers and "persuasive" Walt Disney respectively. John Lee Hancock showed incredible direction, especially through the well-paced flashback sequences of the author and her father, which provided depth and a strong underlying message of redemption and forgiveness. The film takes you through three continents - US, UK (England) and Australia - savoring the picturesque and colorful differences in landscape and tone. The ensemble cast provided amazing performances. Certainly deserves to be nominated for film awards - especially Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks and the film too.
I, Frankenstein is just another fantasy action flick based on a graphic novel rather than the book by Mary Shelley. The graphics and CGI are amazing, and there's enough wham-bang-pow to keep action fans quite happy right to the end. But the acting is pedestrian. Aaron Eckhart is the lead actor who plays Adam, Victor Frankenstein's monster creation and somehow turns immortal. After 200 years, he turns up to hunt the very ones who are looking for him - demon Prince Naberious (what a name!) who wants to raise an army of dead men possessed by demons to take over the world by finding Adam who holds the key to resurrecting the dead, and Dr Frankenstein's scientific journal. I, Frankenstein is packed with exploding fiery demons and winged gargoyles battling away to keep the mindless action going. However, the script is rather thin and bland, and sadly forgettable.
What can be more insane than falling in love with your computer's operating system? Yet, Spike Jonze's HER is so beautifully written, so well directed, and so wonderfully acted by Joaquin Phoenix, that its premise is plausible and, even magical. HER is a work of genius, elegantly and subtly put together as an ode to man's deep ache to love and be loved. HER's heartbeat resonates deeply as a contemporary social statement on three real and dynamic paradigms: first, of man's search to be completely loved, not just physically; second, of increased isolation and loneliness in the life of modern man; and third, of the rise of artificial intelligence technology in this decade, and the dangers of substitution of programmable emphatic affection through technology over human commitment. However, Joaquin's superb performance as the gentle, thoughtful and wounded Theodore anchors the film throughout so effortlessly that one can't help but be provoked emotionally into the film. HER is delightful, sweet and funny, yet leaves you yearning and questioning the deeper meaning as to what truly makes for beautifully loving and intimate relationships.
Great period piece. The 70's era disco feel based in New York is certainly quite charming. Great story and it is riveting. But I think American Hustle is rather over-rated really, thanks mainly to its star-studded cast, direction and of course, studio backing. You do feel hustled into watching this!
Lone Survivor, based on a true story, is a powerful film that chronicles a doomed SEAL mission in Afghanistan. It's a story of brotherhood and the human spirit when faced with danger, packed with realistic pulsating and brutal action: enduring bloody and bone breaking ordeals as the combat grows in intensity. It's also a story of goodness of man in the face of hopelessness and evil: a reality check on the cost of war through the lives lost. Lone Survivor is impressive given the level of commitment given by its excellent ensemble cast led by Mark Wahlberg (who's also the producer). A must watch.
Intelligent, exciting and compelling, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is an action-packed espionage thriller that kicks off as a great debut for a powerful franchise. It's so good, I'm going back to watching it again! What singles out Jack Ryan from the rest of the usual espionage pack is really Kenneth Branagh's directing - whose penchant for character development lifts Chris Pine's lead performance to one that is his best so far - equally believable and solid as a young Jack Ryan. Chris Pine owns Jack Ryan very much like Matt Damon owning Jason Bourne - in character as vulnerable, unsure yet heroic. With Kenneth Branagh doubling as the film's villain, veteran Kevin Costner as Jack's mentor, and Kiera Knightley as Jack's fiance, the film is never over-the-top. The build-up is brisk and nail-biting, thanks to great story-telling, good directing and sharp editing which makes this film my top espionage action film franchise favorite. I'm looking forward to its sequel, with Chris Pine in lead. And I hope it will be soon!
Magnificent and impressive, this second of the three-part film adaptation of Tolkien's The Hobbit, continues to entertain and delight with its imaginative interpretation. Fans were delighted with the return of LOTR favorites like Legolas. However, the film suffered from uneven story telling and felt belabored, no thanks to ambitious attempts to build in a romantic element through adding a female heroine, Tauriel, played by an unconvincing Evangeline Lilly. The film could have been better edited.
Inspiring, ambitious and delightful, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is an enjoyable and contemporary interpretation of James Thurber's short story of a daydreamer who inadvertently ends up embarking on the adventure of his life. Directed and starred by Ben Stiller, the movie is funny and touching, without being overly sentimental, beautifully made, complete with breathtaking landscapes and generously peppered with delightful quotes. Thanks to the great cast and fantastic sound track, this film is entertaining and leaves you inspired to take greater risks in the adventure of life. Carpe Diem!