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Friday October 4, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday October 4, 2013 MYT 8:22:22 AM
DESPITE having a minimal cast, sound and motion, Gravity manages to set off the whole gamut of emotions and capture our full attention the entire time. Set in space, we meet an engineer — who is out in the vastness of outer space for the first time — and an astronaut who is on his last spacewalk.
It’s all routine stuff, working on top of their space station, when debris hurtles towards them and chaos ensues, ending with one of them drifting off into space with no way of stopping.
Director Alfonso Cuarón (who wrote the screenplay with his son, Jonas) tells the story of the characters by capturing the present and amplifying the darkness and nothingness of space. This method gives the story more impact than, say, a flashback. Cuarón also benefits from two very capable actors — a convincing Sandra Bullock and a charming George Clooney.
A lot has also been said about the first 14 minutes of the film, a shot that Cuarón has termed as a continuous moment (it has been hailed as marvellous). Well, it doesn’t disappoint — the wide angle of infinite space slowly closes in on the astronauts and the space station, allowing the audience to be completely immersed with both the location and the characters (especially in IMAX cinemas).
In short, Gravity is one hell of a film. — Mumtaj Begum (*****)
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2
I’m putting the fork down on this one. The first installment of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs was a breath of fresh air for me. I mean how often do we get to see a town ravaged by oversized meatballs and spaghetti, mango jellies and ice-cream of every flavour imaginable?
In this sequel, we find that the dangerous food-making machine invented by the wide-eyed Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) was not destroyed after all, and is turning Swallow Falls into an ecosystem of living, breathing, talking (if you speak their language) food. He has to stop the invasion before it’s too late.
Unfortunately, the sequel fails to impress. There are way too many servings of painfully lame food puns in one movie. Its scriptwriters definitely over-indulged (see what I did there).
Are they supposed to fight against this weird food environment or protect it? By the end of the movie, I wasn’t sure what the “moral of the story” was supposed to be. – Kenneth Chaw (**)
I bolted for the nearest Popeyes (a fast food chain founded in Louisiana) the moment The Butler ended. For some reason, crispy Southern-style fried chicken (topped with mashed potatoes) is served almost every time the Gaines family sits down for a meal.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler tells the moving tale of a loyal butler, Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), who gives his life to the service of eight US presidents, spanning 34 years. Loosely inspired by the life of White House butler Eugene Allen, the film captures significant events especially pertaining to the development of the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of the humble butler.
The film is kept from feeling like a series of history lessons thanks to the depiction of the inner turmoil in the Gaines household. Louis (David Oyelowo), Cecil’s headstrong eldest son, engages in a series of peaceful revolts against the discrimination of African-Americans, driving a wedge between father and son. Meanwhile, wife Gloria (Oprah Winfrey) finds herself turning to alcohol when Cecil is away at work once too often.
Winfrey’s portrayal of the troubled Gloria is impeccable; she manages to balance between being a woman weakened by her growing alcohol addiction and yet coming across as her strong, inspirational real-life self, to serve as the backbone of the family.
Ultimately, it is this simple, resounding message from The Butler that stole my heart: one man’s faithfulness in doing the little things to the best of his abilities does not only better his own life, but an entire nation. — KC (****)
It’s hard to believe nobody picked up on this dramatic true story that happened on the race car circuit in the 1970s before Rush. It’s ripe with action, drama and two strong characters — all of which make Rush a really absorbing watch.
In the film, director Ron Howard explores the rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), as each pushes his driving skills, personality and best foot forward in a bid to win the coveted world championship title. Clashes of their personalities on and off the track make up most of the plot — with Brühl narrating some of the events from Lauda’s perspective.
But this is a F1 movie, so there’s bound to be scenes of cars going really fast. For those, Howard cleverly uses familiar sounds and visuals related to a F1 race — cars taking corners, meeting with accidents, and making pit stops — which are all intercut with scenes of Hunt and Lauda to keep the focus of each race on them. He also applies just the right tint to give the film a washed-out quality, to convey the decade.
What’s also oustanding about Rush is Brühl’s performance as Lauda — although the character is not as affable as Hunt (who charms the pants off many women in the film, literally) the actor makes Lauda likeable with his steely determination. In the end, Rush delivers on its title. — MB (****)
The first half of this movie sets a different tone from how it ends. It seemed like this was going to be a time-travelling romantic drama about a guy named Tim (Domhnall Gleeson, the eldest Weasley son in the Harry Potter films) who can travel to the past, but not the future, and all he wants is to get himself a girl. Then along comes Mary (Rachel McAdams) who gives him a lot of practise at time-travel (to correct his numerous blunders in her presence). By this point, we were only halfway into the movie.
The second half is heartfelt and makes you reflect on your current state of mind. About Time is more than just about finding love, or trying to get a situation right. It is about living.
The message was so simple and yet so profound, I found myself talking about what I learnt from it long after leaving the theatre.
All you need to do is be present; make every moment count; smile because it’ll make someone’s day; and don’t take life too seriously, let yourself laugh, even if it’s just for a while. — Karyn Anne (****)
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