A star is born (2018)

Bradley Cooper has come a long way from his Hangover days. From being a blue eyed poster boy, he has evolved into one of the most versatile and powerful talents. Directing and acting in this soulful film, his performance doesn’t surprise, but cements his reputation as a solid actor and SINGER!

Lady Gaga is the revelation here. A complete natural on screen, you forget that she’s a one of the most well known performing artists, with a huge following and a penchant for the dramatic. Her journey as a talent yet undiscovered, to trying and grapple with her success and manage a volatile relationship is truly remarkable.

Though the performances are brilliant, as is the film making, it is the sheer sadness, intensity of love and knowing the reality of what is not seen, which stays with you much after the film. This is all thanks to the music which has the horsepower to keep racing into the future.

The story has been seen before, it’s the treatment that sets it apart, makes it relevant to the current time and gives you another much needed reality check on success, celebrity and love.



Joy (2016)

The eccentric team of ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and ‘American Hustle’ is back with ‘Joy’. Director David O. Russell presents a semi fictional story of a woman who became an overnight success with an invention of hers.

The path to success is often paved with challenges and obstacles. While professional hurdles were aplenty, it was her family who created drama which was difficult to digest.

Spanning four generations, it’s the story of Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), her parents, grand mother, sibling, husband, friends and children. It is a very trying film to watch, with constant pressure on the protagonist and tension on her life and work. You physically feel the stress mounting as the film goes on.

Jennifer gives another startling performance at the age of 25. She handles difficult scenes with ease and communicates the void she experiences, where only she can save herself. Robert De Niro is her supportive father who himself needs support most of the time. Virginia Madsen plays her soap opera obsessed mother who doesn’t face her reality, choosing to hide behind the convoluted never ending story lines on television. Diane Ladd plays her strong, prophetic grandmother who also narrates the story. Edgar Ramirez plays her ex-husband and good friend, while Bradley Cooper (whose appearance on screen got a collective sigh from the audience) Elisabeth Rohm and Dascha Polanco ably support the proceedings. Isabella Rossellini is the surprise element, a sugar coated, selfish opportunist who represents many people of the modern world.

Metaphorical for ‘cleaning up your life’, Joy is not only her name but the feeling you get when you do the right thing and get rewards. When you speak the truth and stick to it, for ‘truth will always out’. When you face the difficult people and situations in your life with patience and silence and emerge triumphant.

A dose of reality served with love and support from unexpected corners. Much like life.


Burnt (2015)

Step aside ‘chef’ and ‘a hundred foot journey’, here we have a dangerous cook of a different kind.

Director of August Osage County, John Wells is no stranger to handling complex layered dramas and this is no exception. Bradley Cooper enthrals with another intense and unpredictable performance, while the audience gets treated to well edited food preparation montages.

An interesting supporting cast; Sienna Miller, Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman to name a few, spice up the proceedings while we sit on edge, wondering what we will be served next.

A delicacy of a message which is plated beautifully.


American Sniper (2014)

The film uses a traditional approach to tell us the micro story of an ace sniper with the macro backdrop of the Iraq war.

Bradley Cooper has a 3rd consecutive Academy Award nomination, this time for his role as Chris Kyle. He has transformed his body, his body language and verbal / non-verbal communication to a remarkable extent. One scene specifically has us as breathless and tense as he is in the film.

Director Clint Eastwood has handled a variety of films in this genre. He relies more on ‘saying it as it is’ so that we can process and digest the war conditions.

The film is not a commentary on the political scenario at all but just a view point of a soldier at war and how he copes with it afterword. That has perhaps been its most soft and subtle nuance.

Based on a true story it must have been difficult to make and was equally disturbing to watch.


American Hustle (2013)

When so much awards buzz surrounds a film expectations tend to run high. The reason why this film, its actors and team are winning is evident when you watch it.

The strength of this film is that it was NOT trying so hard to convince you of anything, paint a picture about the era or force you to feel for the characters. The characters are so brilliantly written, and acted, that you don’t know which lines to take home. Usually, you take home a few, but here there are quite a few.

The pace of the film and its many agendas quickly blur into the journeys of the characters and the mission they are up against, where the audience knows full well that some cards have yet not been revealed.

Director David O. Russell has put together such an explosive cast and rightly so, as the eccentricities of their characters demand so much. Christian Bale has changed his entire physical being for Irving Rosenfeld, whereas Amy Adams charms and cons as Sydney Prosser. Jennifer Lawrence shows yet again why she won the Oscar last year and why she may win again this year too. Her instability and the way she copes with her mental space is displayed for all to see as Rosalyn Rosenfeld. Bradley Cooper plays the obsessed FBI agent Richie DiMaso, who is blinded by a self proclaimed mission.

This film, unlike its characters, wont hustle you! Get your guard down and watch it!


Hangover 3

What made this franchise fun? A drunk night that nobody had a memory of, followed by events where the ‘wolf pack’ tries to fix and remedy the situation. The tension in this one is different. I wouldn’t say it is entirely not entertaining, but it definitely doesn’t have the humour or the madness of its predecessors.

While this situation is comic at times, but there are certain jokes (PETA take note) which don’t work at all. Mr. Chow is doing all the dirty work here to make sure we laugh, while the rest are trying their best but not succeeding, except some lines from Alan (Zach).

Overall, it wasn’t a fitting end to a franchise which was notoriously funny, wild and shocking.