Spider-Man: Far From Home
The Lion King
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Watch it for the heck of it and see how Jim Carrey utterly dominates the entire film with his over the top comedic acting.
Many believe that an unseen force controls the world. Since man came to be, we assumed that such an indefinable higher power existed that brought forth and manipulates us all, thus rendering coincidence non ? existent, making us conclude that everything, arguably, has been ?planned?. To get our heads around such an unfathomable theory, we have conveniently created ?gods? to define this seemingly cosmic energy which we believe rules our lives. But, whether how many more religions we may come up with to resolve our unexplainable existence, we forget that we already came up with one word that may very well explain all the innumerable occurrences of life. And that is destiny, the core of the beautiful story that is Slumdog Millionaire.
To best stress this point, the film, once it began, opened with a question: ?"Jamal Malik is one question away from winning 20 million rupees. How did he do it?? The viewer was presented with four possible answers to choose from. (A) He cheated, (B) He's lucky, (C) He's a genius and (D) It is written.
To understand and be able to answer this inquiry, you must first know who Jamal Malik is, how he arrived at the cusp of winning such a fortune and what took place that made it possible for him to nearly win it.
Jamal Malik (played by recently unknown Indian actor Dev Patel) was the poor Indian boy fated for greatness whose life the film revolved around, along with his equally fated older brother Salim (played by also unknown Madhur Mittal) and the eternal love of Jamal?s life, Latika (played by the lovely Freida Pinto, who also happens to be an unknown Indian actress).
Though jarring at first, the storyline of Slumdog Millionaire started at the edge of its climax where Jamal was shown being tortured by two police officers (played by Irrfan Khan and Saurabh Shuklah), forcing him to confess to allegedly ?cheating? his way to nearly winning 20 million rupees in India?s top game show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Growing up as a ?slumdog? child who ended up becoming a lowly coffee attendant at a local call center; some, especially the host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire (played by Anil Kapoor), doubted that Jamal could ever know all the winning answers, so much so that the game show host himself had him hauled off for ?intense? interrogation so he?d fess up to the assumed crime.
When they realized that ?conventional? torture wouldn?t work, the officers decided to question Jamal and make him explain how he knew the answers. From here, the real story of Slumdog Millionaire began.
As simple yet bizarre as it may seem, Jamal told the officers plainly that it was through his life experiences that he got to know about the answers. Guiding them through every query he correctly responded to, Jamal recounted all the periods in his life from when he learned, heard, or read about all the answers; brought to life in vivid detail by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan, the film?s directors.
Jamal and his older brother Salim were typical Indian children who lived wretched lives in the slums of Bombay, India. As if life wasn?t hard enough for them, Jamal and Salim were suddenly made orphans when a mob of crazed Muslims attacked their village, killing many innocent people, including their mother. With no one else to turn to, Jamal and Salim were forced into the streets. It was when they became orphans that Jamal and Salim met the person who would singularly influence their fates: Latika, a village girl who also lost her parents when the Muslims razed their village. Together, they grew up as beggars living off garbage across Indian slums.
One day, a seemingly good man named Maman (played by Ankur Vikal) took them to his secluded compound to take care of them along with other orphans. At first, Jamal, Salim and Latika considered Maman a God send whose saintly virtue was the answer to their plight. But they soon found out that Maman was actually an evil child abuser who took orphans off the streets to make them work for him as a syndicate of street urchins.
Once they discovered this, Salim, Jamal and Latika fled. Pursued by Maman and his henchmen, Salim and Jamal clambered onto a train to escape. The not so agile Latika tried to board the train as well, but was swatted away by Salim; clearly jealous of the budding love between Latika and Jamal.
Free from Maman?s clutches, but left with no means to take care of themselves, Jamal and Salim were forced to work as illegal hawkers aboard trains and fake Taj Mahal tourist guides.
For a time, Jamal and Salim were able to fend for themselves. Enough so that Jamal was able to save enough money to return to Bombay, despite the refusal of Salim, to find Latika. Even with the years that went by, Jamal never forgot about her.
Once he arrived in Bombay, Jamal discovered that Latika was alive and well, but was being pimped as a prostitute by Maman in a brothel at Pila Street, one of India?s red light districts. Jamal then stormed to the brothel, intending to save Latika. But, when he got there, a stand ? off ensued between him and Maman who held a grudge against him and Salim for managing to escape long ago. The stand ? off was broken when Salim suddenly appeared, brandishing a pistol and threatening to kill Maman and his men. Salim escaped with Jamal and Latika after he shot Maman in the head.
Finally free of Maman, the trio hid in a decrepit hotel and spent the night. Envious of the openly affectionate Jamal and Latika, Salim left them for the evening, but returned the following morning and man handled Latika away from Jamal, furious with jealousy. He claimed Latika for himself and ordered Jamal to leave. Although refusing to at first, Jamal yielded when Latika told him to after Salim threatened him with the pistol he murdered Maman with the day before.
Jamal never heard from Salim and Latika again in the many years that followed. But, as Fate would have it, he was able to contact them at the call center he worked at as a coffee server. Salim asked to meet with him, who was now a henchman of Javed (played by Mahesh Manjrekar), one of India?s crime lords.
Once they met, Jamal nearly beat Salim to death, never having forgotten about how he stole his beloved Latika away from him. But, despite being enraged towards him at first, Jamal ended up forgiving Salim and even accepted his offer to move in with him. While living with Salim, Jamal was overjoyed to discover where his Latika was. As it turned out, Latika now lived with Javed as his wife.
Salim went to Javed?s mansion and managed to get inside, pretending to be a newly hired dish washer, and finally met the beautiful, all grown up Latika. All the love between them was still ablaze. But, sadly, Latika forced Jamal to leave when Javed came, telling him that it was far too late for them to be together.
Undaunted by this, Jamal continued to pursue Latika, telling her before he left that he?ll wait for her every, single day at the train station until she came. Eventually, she did. They could?ve almost left, scot free, if only Javed hadn?t discovered about their clandestine rendezvous. To curtail their departure, Javed sent Salim to capture and return Latika to him. Salim succeeded.
Desperate, Jamal decided to play on the show Who Wants to be a Millionaire, hoping to win the top prize which will enable him to have Latika.
Against all odds, Jamal was able to answer all the questions right, all the way to win 10 million rupees. Correctly answer one question more and he would win the grand prize of 20 million rupees, if only people would believe he did know all the answers despite being poor and uneducated.
After Jamal finally told his entire life story to the two police officers, they let him go, moved and convinced by his life?s tale, to have a chance at winning the 20 million rupee fortune.
Unknown to Jamal, Salim was finally having a change of heart. Having realized just how much his younger brother loved Latika after seeing him on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Salim decided to let her go and kill Javed, knowing that she and Jamal would never be left in peace as long as Javed was alive. He managed to achieve both, resulting in his death after a skirmish resulted between him, Javed and his men after they discovered that he had let Latika escape.
On the show, Jamal was stumped by the 20 million rupee question, ?what is the name of the 3rd musketeer?? He decided to use his remaining life line, call a friend, to contact his brother Salim, hoping he knew the answer. Much to his surprise, it was Latika who answered to whom Salim gave his cellphone to before letting her go. She told Jamal she was fine and that she didn?t know the answer either. Jamal finally submitted to chance and made a wild guess. Miraculously, Jamal chose the right answer and won the 20 million rupee prize.
Once the show was over, Jamal went to the train station one last time where he met Latika. There, they finally fell into each other?s arms and sealed their destined love with a kiss.
If you haven?t realized it by now, Slumdog Millionaire is a typical love story about star ? crossed lovers who go through many trials and tribulations in life
Even though this type of tale has been told and retold countless of times through equally countless permutations, what?s so brilliantly captivating about this movie was how Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan made this eternal type of tale their own.
Sure, Slumdog Millionaire was a love story. But such an epic, impeccably crafted, and well ? told love story it was; made even better when Boyle and Tandan juxtaposed the progression of the movie?s core love storyline between Jamal and Latika with the retelling of their tragic and poignant lives along with Salim?s as they grew together; framed by a panoramic and candid view into the lives of people in India which, in the movie, was always blighted with poverty and crime.
On that note, I just loved the exhilarating and creative way Boyle and Tandan shot this film, employing fresh, dynamic and effective cinematography to evoke within the viewer the intended emotion in every scene.
Yet, despite winning 8 Academy Awards, I still personally think that this movie wasn?t quite as perfect as many have lauded it to be.
First and foremost, I didn?t really like the performances of the cast. Sure, I knew they weren?t exactly well ? known and seasoned actors and actresses. I?m not saying either that all of their performances were total trash. Given the quality and depth of this movie, I?m just saying that I expected more from all of the actors so as to at least give justice to how good the story was.
Moreover, being that this film was obviously all about the story, I?ll have to say that the script was pretty bland.
Assessing the movie from a technical point of view, I?m not sure that the film?s soundtrack was the best choice for it and, as I?ve already mentioned before, the cinematography got pretty confusing a couple of times, despite how good it was.
Lastly, though it was admittedly fun to watch, I?m not sure either that the surprising bollywood number was appropriate to accompany the ending credits.
Nonetheless, this film may very well be one of the best movies ever made.
If you haven't seen this movie yet, please do yourself a favor and go watch it.
Regardless of where you grew up in, you will agree with anyone that teen adolescence was or is the most memorable period in your life. Whether your memories be good, bad or a mixture of both, it was marked with your numerous experiences that molded you into the individual you turned into; making those years the most significant to you of all.
In the British comedy - drama Driving Lessons, I enjoyed seeing that growing up as a teenager in Britain is as awkward, critical and hilarious as it is everywhere else.
The film revolves around the life of Ben Marshall (played by Rupert Grint): a shy, quiet and introverted boy who, in the film, was going through the motions of being an average teen; such as crashing the car of his driving instructor during his liscensure exam and getting shot down by his crush, played by the beautiful Tamsin Egerton, after reading to her an intense and amusing poem he wrote about her while walking her from a bible study in the beginning of the film.
As ignorant as this may sound to you, I was surprised to discover that Christianity is alive and well in Britain, as it was represented in the film. On that note, Driving Lessons used the religion as a lynch pin to connect the rest of the cast to Rupert Grint's character.
You see, Ben was the child of Robert and Laura Marshall (played by Nicholas Farrel and Laura Linney): a pastor and a pastor's wife whose strained and estranged marriage sent their lives along with Ben's awry.
A genuinely good father and man of the cloth, Robert was literally rendered a prisoner in his own home by his domineering, cookie - cutter and religiously fanatical wife Laura who secretly engaged in an illicit affair with a young and virile pastor named Peter (played by Oliver Milburn).
On an irrational whim, Laura decided to turn her home into a halfway house for senior citizens. If that wasn't bad enough, she coerced Ben to take part in her cause by making him find a summer job. She made him do so in order for her to take his earnings to be given to those she took care of.
Left with no say in the matter, Ben found a job as an assistant to Evie Walton (played by Julie Walters): a kooky, capricious and eccentric old retired actress who lived alone.
As Evie's companion, Ben's life was turned topsy - turvey. During the time Ben worked for her, he and Evie went on quite a few zany adventures. The most memorable of their escapades was an untimely and whimsically absurd camping excursion that turned into a full blown road trip after Evie prodded the initially unyielding Ben to take her to a festival in Edinburgh where she was invited to read a few literary pieces.
It was during the said road trip that Ben gained the life experiences which his mother had so selfishly kept him from. Aside from that, he and Evie finally came to terms with how much they did indeed liked and needed each other.
When their friendship grew noticebly deeper, Laura attempted to drive Ben and Evie apart. But whether how hard she tried, her efforts came to naught once Ben finally put his foot down in defiance of Laura, making the movie end in Laura getting sent to the hospital after being intentionally run over by a car, Robert finally divorcing her and Ben and Evie ceremoniously going their separate ways.
To begin with, I don;'t really have much to say about this film technically. The cinematography was okey and the progression was cohesive enough. Personally, I really liked its soundtrack, which I felt was chosen well and suited the film splendidly. Aside from that, I really liked the way the director, Jeremy Brock, depicted Britain with lush, green fields along with picturesque hills and mountainsides.
What I really liked about this film was the storyline. Although it started out awkwardly, the plot was able to grab the viewer's interest early into the movie once the story went linear. I don't know about the other critics, but I really liked the director's treatment of this film's core premises, combining the plot's drama and comedy facets into a well - balanced whole which framed well the underlying moral and social issues he chose to exemplify. Moreover, the friendship between Rupert Grint and Julie Walters characters really appealed to me and was fleshed out by the two in a genuine and believable manner.
The only thing that I didn't like about this film was the dull performances by majority of the cast. If it wasn't for Julie Walters, whose brilliant acting made her shine in every scene she was in, this movie would've definitely suffered. Aside from that, I feel that not all movie goers will be able to relate to this movie.
Non the less, I still enjoyed this movie immensely and highly recommend it.
Love is the only emotion that has been able to evoke all the beauty inherent in humanity. Through time, soulful writers and balladeers have poured their hearts out, trying to capture the very essence of love with lyrics and prose. Yet love has also been known to bring forth man's inherent evil. When tainted with jealousy, obsession, envy and betrayal, love can push anyone to commit depraved and heinous acts. Through White Oleander, this point is successfully proven with a tale of how love, in all it's forms, can influence and shape our lives, whether it be for the better or worse.
The film is centered around Alison Lohman's character named Astrid, a mesmerizingly ethereal beauty whose life is thrown into tragedy by her mother Ingrid (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) , an austere and arrestingly beautiful artist who murders her boyfriend after he unceremoniously breaks up with her. Ingrid achieves this by poisoning him with milk laced with White Oleander poison.
Once Ingrid gets hauled off to prison, Astrid is taken into custody by the authorities and is placed for adoption while her mother serves her term.
In the film, Astrid gets sent to live with three families: an unwed couple with kids (played by Taryn Manning and Robin Wright Penn) who epitomize American "white trash" stereotypes, a lonely actress (played by Renee Zellweger) way past her prime and a foster home who adopts young women to employ them as laborers in a flee market.
While she lived in these foster homes, Astrid is thrown, head first, into the stark realities of life; experiencing both illicit and true love, violence, tragedy, death, loss, suffering, loneliness, abandonment, despair and, ultimately, redemption.
To be clear, I know that this film was an adaptation of Janet Finch's classic novel of the same name. I actually own a copy. But, being that I haven't gotten the chance to actually read it despite it being in my shelves for quite sometime, I won't pretend that I know how exacting this film was in translating to the big screen Ms. Finch's book.
Despite this, I still think that the adaptation was moving and beautiful. Told from Astrid's point of view, the film recounts, in gripping detail, her immensely colorful life and, in doing so, creates a panoramic view into the human psyche; showing just how fragile love is and how it can be so easily warped by man's faliability.
From a technical perspective, there isn't much to say about this film's cinematography and soundtrack other than it suited it well. Obviously, this film was all about the storyline. The only thing I can give merit to this film for technically is how well it progressed, developing in a smooth and comprehensive manner along with Astrid's growth.
Yet, even with how good this adaptation was, this film, at best, can only achieve cult classic status. With a multifaceted and admittedly sentimental storyline which spanned two hours, other critics may dismiss this as a pretentious and overly sappy tale.
Regardless, it still didn't stop me from seeing it again and again. I just hope this film gets to touch you emotionally as deeply as it did me.
Passion, when focused and guided, brings about the best in those who fuel it through idealistic pursuits. But once passion turns into obsession, it causes nothing except suffering and misery.
Through Chapter 27, this point is strikingly exemplified. In the film, director Jarrett Schaeffer recounts how Mark David Chapman's (played by Jared Leto) obsession over the late John Lennon insidiously spiraled into insanity; leading him to murder one of the most cherished musical prodigies of all time.
Through straight - forward scenes interjected with random and abrupt surrealism, Schaeffer tells Chapman's untold story of how a lonely outcast, desperately trying to seek solace in the world, finds meaning in the bleakness of life through the music and lyrics of The Beatles. Alas, for Chapman, this was all tragically thrown asunder after Lennon leaves the band. With his fragile mind slowly and constantly distressed with loss, abandonment and bitter rage, he ultimately snaps and decides to kill Lennon.
As a story, Chapter 27, simply put, was concise. Obviously based from the newspaper articles and police reports which documented Lennon's murder, the film progressed in a very linear, almost boring manner. If it weren't for Leto's eerie and superb narration of Chapman's rants and ramblings, along with the scenes where in he was succumbing to his delusions, I would've enjoyed the film far less.
If only Schaeffer decided to give this film more depth, maybe by allowing the characters portrayed by Lindsey Lohan and Judah Friedlander to develop as the film unfolded, I personally think this movie would've been so much better.
Even though, it's still worth seeing, if only to see how the selfish delusions of a poor madman deprived the generations that came of John Lennon.