Magical & Magnificent, Film Review Beauty & The Beast

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Beauty And The Beast

The magical tale of Beauty & The Beast has lived on till now and will continue to conquer millions of hearts too in the future.

Disney presented the story in a new avatar, with the lovely Emma Watson as Belle and Downtown Abbey’s Matthew, Dan Stevens as Beast.

Supporting this Beauty & The Beast were Luke Evans as Gaston, Kevin Kline as Maurice (Belle’s father), Josh Gad as LeFou, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth and Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts.

Director Bill Condon was the man behind the Twilight Series: Breaking of Dawn Part 1 & 2 and you can see how he brought that fantasy feel into this Beauty & The Beast. There are great conversations in still moments, for example when Mrs Potts is talking to Belle in her new room in the castle and the best is the snow scene in the courtyard when the Beast and her are talking about books.

Composer Alan Menken who worked on the 1991 Walt Disney edition of Beauty & The Beast also worked on this new version and the music indeed remained breathless. The new version of the title track by Ariana Grande and John Legend was in tune with today’s sounds, but the evergreen one with Emma Thompson still remained and it was an awww moment.

The dinner song “Be Our Guest” by Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Ian McKellen was more fun visually due to the advanced technology now available especially since this film was in a 3D version.

Miss Watson is superb as Belle and Dan Stevens blue eyes are magical indeed.

The entire production design was fascinating. Beauty & The Beast will be back with a newer look, for now this one was heartwarming.

Straight From The Heart, Film Review LION

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Sunny Pawar stars in LION
Photo: Mark Rogers

When a true story makes headlines around the world and especially at the Academy Awards, you have to sit up and take notice. Dev Patel is back in India and searching for his family.

After his successful debut in the Danny Boyle film Slumdog Millionaire, Dev plays Saroo Brierley who is adopted by Australian parents and then goes back to India in search of his family with the help of Google Earth.

This is a big film for Director Garth Davis and he has certainly delivered a magnificent story. Cinematographer Greg Fraser has captured both Australia and India in the most stunning way possible, while still maintaining the reality of the situation, for example when young Saroo wakes up alone at a platform at the railway station, the loneliness creeps you up too.

The star of the film however remains the young Sunny Pawar who plays young Saroo. This little kid wins your heart and the story spends a good 30 minutes in the beginning in India, a risky proposition but Garth Davis knew what he was doing. Nicole Kidman as Sue Brierley, Saroo’s adoptive mother is superb and being such a mother in real life too must have added to her work in this film. David Wenham as John Brierley, Saroo’s adoptive father is good too and also Rooney Mara as Lucy, Saroo’s girlfriend is excellent.

This true story is remarkable and worth a watch. The film has been adapted from the book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley and Larry Buttrose.

Bollywood actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Deepti Naval also add their excellent skills to their short roles.

LION is a story of the brave, the lost and the hopeless who overcome life’s harsh realities of belonging.

A Love Story That Was, Film Review Allied

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When the world heard about the Brangelina break-up it was inconsolable. But Mr Brad Pitt has bounced back on the silver screen with the Second World War film, Allied starring opposite Marion Cotillard.

The film has been directed by Robert Zemeckis who made the iconic Forrest Gump so expectations were high from this war love story.

Max Vatan, a Canadian Officer is sent on a secret mission to Morocco and has to pretend to be Mariaane Beausejour’s husband. However it does not take long for both them to turn their fake relationship into a real one and Max even manages to get Mariaane into the possibly only safest place during the war, London.

They have a child, but they are also carrying a secret, or perhaps Marianne is. Max is faced with an unusual choice and it is decision of duty over love, which one will he choose and is there a third one?

This is the passionate love story of two of the most beautiful actors in Hollywood right now, the ever-handsome Brad Pitt and sultry Marion Cotillard. Rumors were very strong at some point that this film could have caused the break up of Brad and Angelina Jolie’s marriage.

If you want to head back in time and experience a love story under bombshells and dressed in stylish costumes (by the way Costume Designer Joanna Johnston was nominated for an Academy Award), then indulge in this film.

Excellent work by Brad as the conflicted husband and Marion is clever in playing two-dimensional characters.

All That Blue, Film Review Moonlight

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Moonlight was the most deserving winner at the Academy Awards this year. The film has been directed by Barry Jenkins and this is his second film only. Playwright Tarell Alvin McCarney has written the story and if this is any success to go by, he may write more screenplays.

Moonlight is Chiron’s story, the little boy who is facing an absent mother, the teenage boy who is facing an alternative sexuality and the man who is facing his lover. Barry transitions the life of Chiron in a natural way, you grow up with him but you need a strong heart to watch this reality. There are no guns blazing, drugs pouring or domestic violence going out of hand. It is just the story of a boy who looks blue in the Moonlight.

Chiron meets Juan and he becomes his mentor. Juan defines Chiron’s journey.

There are excellent performances by all the 3 Chiron’s from the little Alex Hibbert, young Ashton Sanders and adult Trevante Rhodes. Juan is played by Mahershala Ali, the first Muslim to win an Academy for Best Supporting role and Chiron’s mother is Naomie Harris.

Moonlight is a tough story relayed like the blue ocean, still and deep.

What a Bang On Bloody Hell! Film Review Rangoon

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“Bloody Hell!” yes, Rangoon is full of British-Indian drama that leads you through a nation fighting for its freedom and a lover who needs to be set free.

This unusual trap laid by Director Vishall Bhardwaj will be interesting for some and not entertaining for most.

Rangoon is a story about a B-grade actress Miss Julia (Kangana Ranuat) who has been propelled to fame by her master, Rusi (Saif Ali Khan) and she is at his beck and call until she meets her real life hero, Nawab Mallik (Shahid Kapoor).

Screenwriter Matthew Robbins worked with Vishal for 7 Khoon Maaf, and it is no wonder there is a similarity in the love story plot, intense, surprising and demanding.

At the backdrop of the film is the ongoing quest for freedom, where Mahatma Gandhi wants to do it the anti-violence way and Subash Chandra Bose creates the Indian National Army. Nawab is crucial to making a promise to freedom happen, but he needs Julia, he never bargained for love, and only one must live.

Kangana Ranuat has repeated her Queen success, while Shahid has definitely stolen the limelight in terms of performance and Saif Ali Khan is at his most handsome best considering age. This trio handle the film superbly.

The other winner in the film is the Cinematographer, Pankaj Kumar who has captured the outdoors in a very new leaf on the silver screen.

Rangoon will be appreciated later in years to come.

An Unforgettable First Lady, Jackie Film Review

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Jackie Film Courtesy From The Gap.jpg

The most famous woman in the world, the most famous assassination and the most famous couple, this is the film Jackie.

Natalie Portman won the Academy Award for the film Black Swan and since then has returned to the big screen with the film Jackie.

Director Pablo Larrain and writer Noah Oppenheim have woven a personal biographical story of the woman behind the funeral arrangements. Otherwise how else do create history and linger on the minds of the world.

Jackie is a conversation between herself and journalist Billy Crudup as she sips over a drink and takes a smoke. She has a distinct way of speaking, it is almost as if she is controlling a lisp and he stares through her, by the time they are done he has a new idea of who Jackie is then when he stepped through the front door.

We are taken through the assassination, behind the hospital doors, bedrooms and funeral car over what happened till the burial. Her frank conversations with her brother-in-law and opinions about what is and could be, against the backdrop of her interview on the public viewing of the White House through television is a smart way to bring out “The Royal Presidential Couple’s” life to the screen.

Natalie is excellent but so bony and sickly in appearance. The film is of course all about her and she delivers.

Action with a Purpose, Force 2 Review

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Force 2 Courtesy Review Rating

Force 2 Courtesy Review Rating

There have been several benefits with Anil Kapoor taking up and bringing the TV Series 24 to India. One of them is in the work of Director Abhinay Deo, who has shot both Series 1 and 2.

Force 2 is based on the 2011 sequel Force where the main subject was the drugs smuggling and it launched the career of the villain Vidyut Jamwal.

Force 2 brings back John Abraham, who has also co-produced the film. John is the same cop, ACP Yashvardhan and still the hot-headed guy who wants to save the world from evil. His best friend is a Government spy and is killed and so the investigation begins and Yash has a clue to work with. He is assigned to work with the R.A.W. agent Kamaljeet Kaur and they head off to Budapest to start the hunt. The interesting plots, twists, villainous tricks by their target Shiv Sharma is quite a treat. Bollywood has really come a long way in terms of giving strength to plot, production design and of course action.

Sonakshi Sinha is Kamaljeet Kaur and she is definitely not your blonde off the block. She handles the role with ease. John is at his best in looks and acting. The villain played by Tahir Raj Bhasin, is the black sheep and he will surely have a long career in Bollywood. He has to make sure he is not stereotyped as a mean guy by taking another negative role, since his debut was in Mardaani as the child trafficker.

Force 2 is a delight in use to time and space on the screen and the best part is the fight sequence where you get a video gaming style view of the action.

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