Mare of Easttown (2021)

A riveting crime drama, with Kate Winslet at the helm, who fights her inner demons and grief as she drowns herself in solving the crimes of her small town.

A lot of things are at stake here; families, faith, sanity and the law. As the story progresses, the secrets begin to unravel. There are twists, turns and suspects aplenty and nothing will prepare you for what comes next.

Today was the concluding episode, where reparations and justice continued till the last frame. Back stories and motives are revealed and the audience is able to move on, just like the characters, who have been through their own hell.

A brilliant mini series with a lot of pain, sadness, generational trauma and healing. One of the best things on tv this year.

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Collateral Beauty (2016)

Love, Death and Time. One is how we live life, one is how we end it, and one is how we measure it. The movie takes a point of view on all three, through the eyes of the eight stellar cast.

David Frankel directs an interesting concept, the story uses philosophy merged with a capitalist agenda to heal and influence the mourning Will Smith. While parts of it are predictable, the awe quotient is kept high in intermediate revelations.

Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley are top notch, getting able support from Edward Norton, Michael Pena, Jacob Latimore and Naomi Harris. Will Smith expresses and emotes mostly without dialogue in an intensely helpless performance.

While we try and help someone, the universe cleverly helps us too. While we heal someone, part of us heals as well. Such concepts are beautifully portrayed amongst other difficult ones, making it a fulfilling watch.

3/5

Steve Jobs (2016)

Director Danny Boyle presents us a handful of scenes which communicate various layers of stories, both professional and personal, in Steve Jobs’ life. The scenes themselves are genius; lengthy, fluid, intense and dialogue heavy.

Michael Fassbender plays the Jobs we knew, and it makes the previous film with Ashton Kutcher pale in comparison. What version is accurate we can never be certain, but this film leaves an impact about how he approaches his relationships, both in the corporate world and at home.

Kate Winslet is herself. And by that I mean flawless. Her accent, her frustrating concern, the way her character bulldozes in to his life and guides his decisions is uncanny. In many ways she was the anchor in the life of a man who was being pulled in many different directions.

Seth Rogen plays his partner in crime and invention well. He is representative of all who, in Jobs’ world, were part of the journey but didn’t get their due. Jeff Daniels has outdone himself in a role which required an assertive character who knows when he is beaten.

It was a riveting watch with many insights into a man’s life who has changed the way we live and consume technology.

3.5/5

The Dressmaker (2015)

Kate Winslet in and as ‘The Dressmaker’ is a flawless talent. Fan Bias aside, she is every bit the couturier who sows the scenes with her unending charm and brilliant timing.

Director Jocelyn Moorhouse has created a quaint town in 1950s Australia with a very distinct cast in desperate need of makeovers, both inward and outward. Drama is weaved around the mother daughter pair who are the life of the film.

Judy Davis as the mother displays the hysterical end of her daughter, both of whom are suppressing the memory of an event which changes the graph of the film. Liam Hemsworth shows us a rural side of himself, a charmer and a gentleman.

You feel many emotions while watching it. Passion, euphoria, revenge, love, sorrow and latent comedy. The ‘crazy’ is baked in finely, making it discernible but still a part of the whole.

This devil does not wear Prada, but can surely stun you with her needle.

3.5/5

Divergent (2014)

A post apocalyptic Chicago is divided into factions, based on human virtues. They are ‘Abnegation : selfless’, ‘Dauntless : brave’, ‘Erudite : Intelligent’, ‘Amity : peaceful’ and ‘Candor: honest’. While it would be impossible to divide a complex human race on such grounds, it has been done to control them and maintain peace.

Of course, everyone doesn’t fit neatly into the above. This is the film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s first novel in her trilogy and makes an interesting watch especially for someone who hasn’t read the book. The beginning has an aftertaste of Harry Potter and its sorting ceremony, but quickly becomes far more riveting than a sorting hat putting you in a particular house.

It seems like a simple world, but disintegrates into similar patterns of power and politics, where one’s innate virtues are first used for them and later against them. The story is told via Beatrice’s (Shailene Woodley) journey, which is inspiring as well as predictable. She is supported by Four (Theo James), Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn and many others, who are restrained by a system which is utopian to say the least.

Kate Winslet makes a special powerful appearance, bringing a quality on screen which only she can. Director Neil Burger, who has made The Illusionist and Limitless, seems very much at home with the subject, weaving a believable world for us to experience.

Watch out for Insurgent and Allegiant which are already in pre-production.

3/5