Harry Potter 20th Anniversary – Return to Hogwarts (2022)

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Little Women (2020)

It is so difficult to do justice to a classic and director Greta Gerwig has done just that.

Connecting your emotions to the story and the characters from the first frame, we see a pure and simple bond between the siblings and everything that affects them.

Many highs and lows later the performances remain consistently strong and deep, where we are seen rooting for all of them.

A heart-warming start to the year and a fitting choice for every accolade.

4/5

The Circle (2017)

Director James Ponsoldt shows us a world where technology and creativity work together to create an illusion of transparency.

An interesting concept, it would work more as a short film rather than a full length feature, as many sub plots were left unexplored.

Performances are dependable with Tom Hanks being his usual charismatic self, in a character that has little gray area. Emma Watson is more nuanced in a role that shows the vulnerability, ambition and intelligence of her character.

A decent flight watch!

2/5

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

The comfort with a tale oft told is the feeling it creates when you see it. That very comfort can work against you when the film doesn’t offer it. This time round however, director Bill Condon has a heart warming experience to share with us.

Disney took a big risk with Emma Watson, the lead star with many illustrious voices around her, to carry such an expensive fairy tale on her petite shoulders. She does so with unassuming talent and grace. The canvas is large, the work is detailed and they have managed to recreate the feel of watching a stellar musical which, to our advantage, plays in cinemas across the world.

Dan Stevens as the beast is ‘U’ rated, I must admit. Disney made it so, so that children would warm up to him rather than be afraid. Great care has been taken to craft his look, his introduction, evolution and his revelation, all of which make him endearing.

The supporting characters are made with stunning CGI and voices to match. Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Audra McDonald and Gugu Mbatha-Raw are wonderful inhabitants of the castle. Kevin Kline, Luke Evans and Josh Gad provide the drama in the village.

The music is a delight to the ears and eyes, with the title track playing in your head much after the movie has finished. The other songs have been given equally aesthetic treatment just like the broadway or the animated versions, a spectacular vision and execution.

It has been very well received, and for good reason, as it combines technology and art to produce a modern day masterpiece.

4/5

Noah (2014)

If you are expecting to see Noah build an arc where animals walk single file into it, in neat pairs, this is not for you. The film tells us precisely what it calls itself; its all about Noah. Earlier depictions of this film have been pretty safe and by the book. Here of course, cinematic liberties have been taken, to show you the inner turmoil and moral dilemma that Noah faced.

I have maintained time and again that 3D shouldn’t be used if its not required. In a film like this which was mainly over cast, stormy and rainy, it surely wasn’t. There were tough questions which were asked of Noah and his family, sacrifices for the rest of humanity, doubts about how mankind would survive and repopulate the earth. If those questions are seen from the perspective of a single family handed a task to save creation, than this film has come close to showing us what it could have been.

The cast was impressive, with Russell Crowe and Emma Watson being the highlights. Jennifer Connelly has one hard-hitting scene, besides being the strong female figure throughout the film. The length and costumes were perhaps the biggest drawbacks of this film, besides the 3D.

Director Darren Aronofsky has tried a different approach to say his story and has partially succeeded.

2/5

This is the end (2013)

The biblical apocalypse is upon actors who are playing themselves at a party in Beverly Hills. What ensues is a mix of silly, funny and downright outrageous.

James Franco is playing host to Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, Emma Watson, Rihanna and many others. It seems like a frat party, which has predictable wild moments. The bizarre events that follow are fun to watch because of the presumed real life personalities and their reactions.

Survival, egos, conflicting opinions, there is a clear build up to a hilarious climax, making it a fun home or flight watch.

2.5/5