Movie Review: The Fault in Our Stars

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There are very few if any movies based on books that manage to resonate and keep up with the book, let alone surpass it. However, The Fault in Our Stars seems to be the exception to the rule. I can name a dozen movies over the top of my head where you simply cannot find the essence of the book in the movie. There is always that missing element, and more often than not, it’s the emotion that is missing out. When watching the movie, sometimes you simply cannot feel the feels that you felt when reading the book.

The Fault in Our Stars tells us the unglamorous yet extraordinary story of Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley), a teenage girl suffering from terminal thyroid cancer which has metastasised into her lungs for the better part of half a decade. Reality shows and books make up most of her days, when her mother suggests that she attend a support group in order to make friends. Little does she know that that is where she shall cross path with Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a young and dynamic personality who suffers from osteosarcoma which has already claimed one of his legs, and her life shall never be the same again.

Woodley delivers a brilliant and unforgettable Hazel Grace, and her large, looming, and penetrating brown eyes will pierce your heart in a way that will have you gasping for breath. Her quite intelligence and train of thought is beyond her years, making you want to take a step back and re-evaluate your life. Elgort seems to be born to play Augustus Waters, and within minutes of appearing on screen, he shall take over your entire being in a way that his suffering will tear through you in the most gut wrenching manner possible.

A piece of advice, when going to watch the movie do stock up on tissue if you don’t want your clothes to be drenched in salty tears. I ran out of the meagre supply I had, and trust me, you don’t want that happening to you. What I loved best about The Fault in Our Stars was that the emotions on screen are palpable in a manner that they ebb out of the screen, make their way past your rib cage and grasp your heart in a manner which makes your heart want to get up behind your eyeballs and flow out in the form of tears.

The Fault in Our Stars makes you realise that the biggest delusion that we live in is that we have time, that we can postpone living life to another day just because we have so many seemingly ‘important’ things to do, when there are so many people around just trying to have a better day today than the last. It’s a jolt that makes you wake up for real and live in the TODAY and NOW. Okay? Okay.

 

Movie Review: The Fifth Estate

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Rating: 3/5

If your bucket list includes watching a movie that is actually less of a movie and more of a PowerPoint presentation, then by all means watch The Fifth Estate; on that score it doesn’t disappoint. However, if you are hoping to have your minds blown away by the story of one of the most prominent internet phenomenon and personalities of the 21st century, a.k.a. WikiLeaks and Julian Assange respectively, then you will be sorely disappointed.

It is a wonder as to how a movie that could have all the markings of an exceptional movie can be such a snooze fest. Despite the great cast that has a surreal amount of talent individually and an earth shattering storyline, The Fifth Estate hits and misses by a long shot. It all comes down to execution. The first hour of the movie is pretty drab despite it being the foundation on which the remaining movie was to stand on, and maybe that is why the entire movie fails miserably.

Benedict Cumberbatch adds yet another feather to his cap with his portrayal of Julian Assange, proving to his peers that he is a force to reckon with, the oncoming storm (yes, I couldn’t help the Doctor who reference). Daniel Bruhl who plays Daniel Berg, one of the first recruits of WikiLeaks, doesn’t break character, and yet you somehow find it hard to sympathise with him in the end. Laura Linney as Sarah Shaw portrays the White House side of the story, and does so wondrously.

The only thing that holds The Fifth Estate together is its cast; if it wasn’t for that the movie would have been a complete disaster, and then some. 

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Movie Review: Gravity

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Rating: 41/2/5
Finally, here is a movie that takes the sic-fi genre up a few notches to another level and beyond. Despite having a very basic storyline, Gravity will make you squirm and pant in your seats so much so that you might as well be in space along with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, who is fresh out of the labs and training sessions on her first mission to space as the Mission Specialist. Matt Kowalski, played by George Clooney, is a seasoned astronaut who is at the end of this game and commanding his final space expedition. However, things soon spiral out of control (note: I do not use the word ‘spiral’ here in a figurative sense, things LITERELLY spiral out of control), and what follows next is beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations ever. 

It is quite riveting to watch Sandra Bullock put away her rom-com mantle and seep into a deeper and much more significant role. It is a pity that we cannot fully admire George Clooney’s devastatingly handsome face as it is shrouded in the astronaut’s suit. However, there is nothing stopping us from using our imaginations, as of course, his face is etched there, never to be forgotten.

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With the most brilliantly captured space photography, Gravity takes you out of the movie theatre that you are seated in and scatters your senses across space in the most artistic manner possible. Agreed, most 3D movies have you reaching for your migraine medication, however, that is not the case here. The graphics are so very believable that more than once you will find yourself ducking in order to avoid the space-debris that come flying your way.

Gravity has all the markings of a thrilling space-movie, and having said that, there is only one aspect of the movie that I found a little convenient (or inconvenient if you may), and that is the fact that tragedy seemed to follow Sandra around in space. One moment everything is perfectly fine, but the minute Sandra is in the picture things start going downwards and how. This is why I have taking one star off of the rating scale, besides this, Gravity is as flawless as it gets, reinstilling your faith in modern movie-making.

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Movie Review: Prisoners

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Ratings: 4/5

As if watching The Conjuring and having my brains blown out of proportion was not enough, I had to go ahead and watch Prisoners just to make sure that the psychological damage was if not permanent, at least long lasting. This is one movie that you cannot just wipe out of your psyche with a couple of Tequila shots, oh no, Prisoners is here to haunt you long after you have left the movie theatre.

With Hugh Jackman in the lead playing Keller Dover, Prisoners has a simple and straightforward storyline- after a friendly and hearty Thanksgiving dinner at their neighbours the Birches’ home, the youngest daughters Anna Dover and Joy Birch are missing. The movie revolves around police investigation that goes into finding the little girls, and what the families go through in the meanwhile. Detective Loki, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is the lead investigator on the case, and is an intense and strong character that befits a detective who has never had an unsolved case in his career. 

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The most compelling aspect of Prisoners is that the movie is fraught with emotions and despite it being much longer than most suspense-thrillers, there is not a moment in the movie that feels stretched, boring or unnecessary. Jake Gyllenhaal has given everything and then some to the role of Detective Loki; and hardly anyone will bat their eyes when he bags a number of awards for his efforts.

What is so spine-chilling about Prisoners is the fact that humans can do such inhumane and barbaric things to fellow human beings, and somehow manage to justify it. Prisoners is testimony to the fact that the most humble and God-fearing people can turn into complete monsters when it comes to saving the ones they love, and that true evil lurks not in the depths of a forest, or in myths and legends, but amongst us, in the form of plain and innocent-looking human beings. 

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Movie Review: Jane Eyre

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Ratings: 4/5
Out of all the classics that I have literally swallowed, Jane Eyre is the one that has remained embedded into my bloodstream without ever leaving or fading into the deep recesses of my heart. I still remember that first copy of the evergreen classic that I had the honour of owning. I was merely ten years old and forever hungry for books, books and more books. Honestly, the reason I choose that book was not just because the synopsis spoke to me, but also because it was the thickest book on the shelf! Oh yes, I wanted the book that would last the longest. And the rest is history.
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Somehow the story of this plain, obscure and intelligent, yet simply marvellous girl made more of a difference in my life than any classic heroine ever had. So imagine my surprise and pleasure when I realised that a thrilling and magnificent movie had been made just a couple of years ago that was bound to revive some of the most heart-touching memories of my childhood.

Jane Eyre the movie is one of the most well made adaptations of the book ever made, or so the ratings suggest. Mia Wasikowska has done complete justice to the role of a plain yet independent governess that is Jane Eyre. Slowly but surely, the movie tugs at our hearts when we witness little Jane’s plight at her aunt’s home, and then at the extremely strict and borderline cruel boarding school named Lowood which she was shipped off to. Soon enough Jane grows into a smart young woman, who is exceptionally skilled at sketching, thus securing a position at Thronfield Hall as a governess.

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Soon Jane encounters the owner of Thronfield Hall, the dark and mysterious Mr. Edward Rochester played by Michael Fassbender, who falls in love with Jane before long. Before long, Jane returns his feeling and they spend some of the most breathtaking and joyous moments on the grounds of Thronfield Hall. However, there is something much more sinister that lurks at Thronfield Hall, and is bound to destroy any chance of happiness they can hope to have as a couple.

The costumes, the pleasing cinematography prove to be such amazing visual treats that the movie manages to take your breath away multiple times. It is everything and more that can be expected from a movie based on a classic novel. If you wish to be transported into a world of green meadows, strong and self made heroines, and men with shady pasts, Jane Eyre has all of that and more to offer.

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Movie Review: The Conjuring

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Rating: 4 1/2 /5
The Conjuring has all the markers of a brilliant horror flick, and the ‘based on a real story’ tag line does nothing to soothe the chills that travel up and down your spine. Right from the first frame of the movie, The Conjuring will grip your nerve endings and keep sending incessant shockwaves through them for the next 96 minutes.

The Conjuring is based on one of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s most horrifying cases. For those of you who do not know the Warrens, they are what we today call ‘ghost-busters’. They have investigated a series of paranormal incidences in their time, and the Perron case in Rhode Island is the one that The Conjuring is based on. 

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Carolyn and Rodger Perron move into an ancient farmhouse along with their five adorable daughters. However, before they can so much as settle in, the supernatural takes over. Seeing no way around it, Carolyn seeks help from Ed and Lorraine Warren, who then figure out that the farmhouse is a part of a 200 acres property that once belonged to a deranged… okay, I am not giving out more than that.

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The Conjuring employs all the old-school techniques that have been used in horror movies since time immemorial, and does so with utter brilliance. The sound effects are magnificent, and the simple yet mystifying performance by all the actors adds to the creepy and deviant aura of the movie. There are some movies that you just cannot miss, so what excuse do you have to miss a movie that comes with this warning:

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The Most Fantastic and Underrated Dysfunctional Family: The Addams Family

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If you have never heard of or watched any cartoon, TV show or movie based on the Addams Family it is time you revoke your geek card, because if you like dysfunctional and creepy things, then it doesn’t and cannot get better than this.

When you watched the cartoons during your childhood you may have hid under your covers, terrified of this utterly petrifying family; then you got a little older and may have summoned the courage to watch the movie, chuckled at the black humour that is so craftily portrayed in the movies and rebuked yourself for being terrified of this strange yet adorable family. Whichever way you go it is hard to not develop a liking for this family of immortals, although how exactly they have acquired this immortality is unclear to this day.

ImageI managed to watch two of the movies based on the Addams family: The Addams Family, and The Addams Family Values. Gomez Addams, married to Morticia Addams lives in a creepy and ancient mansion along with Morticia’s mother and their two children Pugsley and Wednesday. They are madly in love with one another, expressing it in the most dysfunctionally romantic manner possible. Fester Addams is Gomez’s older brother and single, leading to the family plots revolving around a variety of women trying to grasp the Addams extravagant wealth by charming the older Addams. Lurch Addams, the butler, resembles a zombie, and has never had to remember a dialogue as he remains silent in the background, throwing around creepy stares.

ImageEven though the plot of the movies are pretty basic and nothing unique, the black humour that plays into the dialogues and the acting skills steal the show, making the movies a complete hit. The Addams Family Values is much darker and humorous than its predecessor, packing in a lot more thrills and laughs.

My favourite most character in the family is of course the older daughter, Wednesday Addams. She has been named after the most dreadful day of the week, and this reflects upon the family’s taste for anything that has the slightest link to tragedy or torment. Wednesday Addams is a poker faced girl who constantly dresses like she is off to a funeral, or rather that her entire life is a funeral, not that she would mind, I think nothing would please her more if that were the case.

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With a poker face and a sharp tongue paired with unmatched intelligence and love for everything creepy, Wednesday Addams makes me want to put up all of my daughters for adoption until I am blessed with one who is exactly like her. Wednesday is obsessed with homicidal tendencies at an age when ‘normal’ girls are obsessed with boys and make-up.

ImageAnother interesting addition to the family is Thing, who is nothing more than a hand, yes, you read that right. Thing is a hand with no body, and yet it seems to have a mind of its own as it can communicate with Gomez through sigh language or tapping on wood. Thing also arm wrestles with Gomez, brings in the mail, writes letters on Gomez’s behalf, and also gives Gomez a head massage when things get tough.

ImageThe Addams Family and The Addams Family Values do complete justice to the happily disgruntle family that loves misery and torture, so go on, give the geek in you a little dose of creepy and crazy bundled together in this joyride!