Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan is known for skillfully weaving a complex story structure in most of his movies. And he’s done just the same for Dunkirk.

Written and Directed by Nolan, Dunkirk is a story of relentless efforts to rescue 4,00,000 British soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, who are surrounded by Germans from all sides and the only way out is by sea.

The story is told through 3 different characters, who are at 3 different locations, at 3 different time frames. To top it off, each of the incidents are shown from 3 different perspectives – air, land, and sea! That’s Nolan for you.

Dunkirk has an ensemble cast of good actors like Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, James D’Arcy, Cillian Murphy and debutante Harry Styles (Of One Direction Fame), who has also done a commendable job.

Nolan smartly uses fast intercuts constantly between the stories of soldiers, the RAF pilots, and a civilian on his boat chugging towards Dunkirk. This makes the film intense and very engaging.

The action sequences feel real and takes you directly into the war. You become a part of this survival story and can feel the hopelessness of the characters. The movie is all visuals and less dialogues. The cinematography gives the film a gloomy and surreal feel, which no other war movie has achieved. As always the background score by Hans Zimmer is amazing and it brilliantly adds to the tension and depth of the story.

The characters are not much explored emotionally with no backstories shown. But, Nolan has used each and every trick from his bag to pull off this film and you easily ignore these small things. Christopher Nolan shows off his craft and proves that he is one of the finest directors of this century.

Dunkirk is an intensely dramatic, immersive and moving film. You definitely do not want to miss what could be the best movie of 2017.

Rating – πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹ & 1/2

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Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy

Cinematography:  Hoyte van Hoytema

Edited by: Lee Smith

Music: Hans Zimmer

War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes is the third installment of the Planet of the Apes franchise by Twentieth Century Fox. Picking up a few years after the harrowing events of the previous film, this film puts us right into the conflict between the smart Apes and the destructive humans fighting to reclaim their supremacy.

Caesar, played by Andy Serkis, has to lead his people to safety as a group of unidentified soldiers plan to attack the Apes’ stronghold, and the evil Colonel, played by Woody Harrelson, who leads the soldiers has hidden plans of his own.

The story is really not about the war between apes and human beings. It’s about Ceaser’s internal journey and the conflict of not becoming like Koba, who was the negative character in the previous film. The character of Ceaser is maturely evolved across the franchise. The focus is more on Apes and the story is told from their perspective. Apart from the existing characters like Maurice and Rocket, a new character is introduced Bad Ape, which is played by Steve Zahn. The arrival of Bad Ape brings a little humor to this dark and emotional film.

After watching the previous two films of the franchise, it is normal to expect an epic battle sequence at the end. But it doesn’t happen that way. The film also feels slow and little lengthy at few times in the second half.

The motion capturing done for creating the apes is so outstanding that you never feel that it’s the CGI. The apes look very real like a human being. The cinematography is remarkable and gives an epic feel to the story. The background score does justice to the crucial emotional moments throughout the film.

Overall, War for the Planet of the Apes is a great ending to the trilogy. It is an emotional, thought-provoking and brilliantly crafted film. Hail, Caesar!

Rating: πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹ & 1/2

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Genre: Action, Drama, Adventure

Directed by: Matt Reeves

Starring:  Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Sara Canning, Ty Olsson, Terry Notary, Devyn Dalton, Aleks Paunovic, Alessandro Juliani, Amiah Miller, Chad Rook, Karin Konoval, Gabriel Chavarria

Music: Michael Giacchino

Cinematography: Michael Seresin

Transformers: The Last Knight

Director Michael Bay is back with a long and incomprehensible 5th installment of the Transformers series in the form of Transformers: The Last Knight. This time the story is about Autobots and humans trying to stop a sorceress named Quintessa, who wants to restore Cybertron by destroying planet Earth.

The story starts some 1600 years back in history where the Transformers help King Arthur and his army to restore order on earth. Coming back to the present, Optimus Prime is captured and hypnotized by Quintessa to retrieve the ‘Staff’, a powerful weapon, from Earth. Cade Yaeger (Mark Wahlberg) is helping the Transformers in need in his huge junkyard. One day a dying transformer gives him a talisman which is supposed to help him stop the Decepticons from destroying Earth. Vivian Wembley(Laura Haddock) who is a history professor at Oxford, is the last descendant of King Arthur and is the only person who can activate the ‘Staff’. 

Phew! That’s a lot to process!

A lot of time is wasted on unnecessary things in the first half of the film. It won’t be wrong to say that the actual story picks up in the second half only. Also at many places, the comic dialogues do not really make you laugh. 

Many things are happening at the same time and sometimes it gets difficult to understand what’s really going on. Many new characters are added to the story with nothing much to contribute.

Sir Anthony Hopkins is also part of the film but is never used to his full potential. This film gives you the big explosive action sequences but lacks the fast pace edge of the seat thrill. Though, the fight sequence at the end looks epic with some great visual effects. 

Overall, Transformers: The Last Knight is only for the die-hard fans of the series and for those who like VFX-heavy action.

Rating: πŸ’‹πŸ’‹

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Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

Directed by: Michael Bay

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Isabela Moner, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Peter Cullen, Gemma Chan

Cars 3

It’s been more than ten years since the first Cars movie was released, which was a sweet and sensitive racing comedy film. The sequel, Cars 2 turned out to be a soulless and disappointing with no real sense of purpose. Cars 3, fortunately, delivers a good story and gets the series back on track.

Lightning McQueen, voiced by Owen Wilson, is enjoying his time as the racing legend. His life changes when Jackson Storm, voiced by Armie Hammer, an arrogant and ridiculously fast young racer, defeats him in a race. This continues until the last race of the season where McQueen crashes and goes into rehab.

Now, Storm is the new champ. Everyone thinks McQueen is old and it’s time for him to retire. But he doesn’t give up and decides to reinvent himself to become the champion again. In this journey, McQueen meets Cruz, voiced by Cristela Alonzo, his trainer who never believed in herself as a racer. She is an important character in the story which will surprise you at the end.

The animation looks more realistic than before. The racing sequences are entertaining too. It is a touching and motivational tale which will connect with all. It’s not only about McQueen trying to win a race but something more than that. The movie has some funny scenes which will bring out laughter.

Overall, Cars 3 is an enjoyable ride for both kids and adults alike. It is the best movie of the series and definitely a one-time watch.

Rating – πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹

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Genre: Animation, Comedy

Directed by: Brian Fee

Starring: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Armie Hammer, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington, Lea DeLaria

Music by: Randy Newman

Cinematography: Jeremy Lasky, Newton Thomas Sigel

Edited by: Stephen Schaffer

The Mummy (2017)

The Mummy is a reboot of The Mummy franchise and the first installment in the Dark Universe film series. This time we have a woman mummy in the form of the evil Egyptian Princess Ahmanet, who is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert.

The story starts with Nick Morton(Tom Cruise) who accidentally reawakens the Mummy of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) and immediately gets cursed. A young archeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), and the scientist Doctor Jekyll(Russell Crowe) come to Nick’s rescue. They are part of Prodigium, a secret society dedicated to hunting supernatural threats.

The story does excite you to some extent initially. But it doesn’t live up to the expectation when it reaches to the end. The character of Nick lacks purpose and isn’t properly fleshed out. His love for Jenny is never built up and lacks conviction. The character of Princess Ahmanet is very well designed but never used up to its full potential. The same goes with Doctor Jeykyll.

Sofia Boutella is compelling and immensely watchable. Russell Crowe manages to entertain too. But Tom Cruise fails to make an impression. It is probably one of the worst movies of his career.

The production design is impressive in many places and the visual effects are decent. But, the action sequences don’t do justice to it. The climax is far too simple with nothing exciting to offer.

Overall, The Mummy is a bad mixture of comedy, action and horror. It is a one time watch for movie freaks for its visuals and nothing more.

Rating – πŸ’‹πŸ’‹

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Genre: Action, Horror

Directed by: Alex Kurtzman

Starring: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance,Marwan Kenzari, Russell Crowe

Wonder Woman

After delivering multiple disappointing superhero films, DC & Warner Brothers have made a terrific comeback with Wonder Woman.  This is a superhero origin story that digs into Diana’s transformation from a naive warrior to an inspiring hero.

Diana, played by Gal Gadot, is the princess of the Amazons, who are living peacefully on a hidden island. Their sole purpose is to defeat the god of war, Ares, and bring peace to the world. One day a British spy Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine crashes on the island while escaping from the German forces in the First World War. Trevor tells Diana of the β€˜war to end all wars’ and she decides to go with him and end the war.

Diana’s innocence and no knowledge of the human world brings out humor without using any cliched one-liners. Diana experiences falling in love for the first time and the romantic moments between Diana and Trevor are emotional and heart warming. Gal Gadot fits the bill perfectly as Wonder Woman. She pulls off the fight sequences with ease and style. Chris Pine plays an important supporting role and does justice to his character. 

The cinematography on the film is stunning. Also, the background score is memorable, especially during Diana’s fighting sequences which stays with you past the movie. The climax war scenes look incredible with great visual effects.

Overall, Wonder Woman is an emotional and inspirational tale of a woman superhero. It will engage and entertain you for sure.

Rating – πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹
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Genre: Action, Superhero

Directed by: Patty Jenkins

Starring:  Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya

Music: Rupert Gregson-Williams

Cinematography: Matthew Jensen

American Gods

American Gods is a fantasy-drama television series based on the novel of the same name, written by Neil Gaiman. The story focuses on an ex-convict named Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle)  who starts working for a mysterious man called Wednesday (Ian McShane) and is drawn into a big bloody battle.
With only days remaining in his sentence, Shadow is given an unexpected early release after his beloved wife Laura is killed. Taking a plane back home to her funeral, Shadow finds himself next to  Wednesday, who knows everything about Shadow and offers him a job. Wednesday appears to be a con artist but he is someone bigger. Two other characters are also introduced, Bilquis(Yetide Badaki) and Mad Sweeney(Pablo Schreiber), who are also an important part of the story.

During the first half of the one-hour long episode, many things happen but you never get an idea what is the story all about. You start getting some idea only during the last 10 minutes. This is a long time to get viewers attention in this highly competitive web series market.

American Gods is not a gripping story but has some good vfx scenes which gives it a fantasy touch. Only good actors and meaty one-liners couldn’t make the show entertaining. It also needs smart writing which is clearly missing in this show. 

Rating – πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹ kisses

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Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Action

Developed by: Bryan Fuller, Michael Green

Starring: Ricky Whittle, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover, Bruce Langley, Yetide Badaki, Pablo Schreiber, Ian McShane