Sing (2016)

A stellar talented cast, comprising Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Tori Kelly, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Scarlett Johansson, this film is filled with a spectrum of emotions, celebrating music and voice!

Expect the unexpected! What can go wrong will go wrong! When you hit rock bottom the only way is up! Never underestimate anybody! Many such life lessons are presented in this film which has a mature approach to an animated story.

Adults and children will enjoy this film for it’s comedy, life philosophy, unpredictability and spirit of oneness and friendship.

A great way to start the year!

3.5/5

The Jungle Book (2016)

Jon Favreau is a magician who weaves a tale which is rich beyond measure! He achieves aesthetic brilliance and sensory perfection with the characters that are so beloved in India and all over the world.

The story of Mowgli and his friends is told with convincing reality, so much so that it enthrals children and adults alike. The talented voices of Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Christopher Walken, Lupita Nyong’o are perfect, creating feelings of tension, fear, security, adventure, trance, belonging and freedom!

Young actor Neel Sethi makes a confident debut amongst the live action / CGI reimagining, which leaves you spell bound. It is as real as it can be, capturing the grace of the animal world, where their love is equal, if not more, than what humans have for their families and friends.

A tale told with precision and dedication, it is a treat for all our senses!

4/5

Avengers : Age of Ultron (2015)

Written and directed by Joss Whedon, the film uses its length to tell you how close it can get to a video game but stay in the realm of a film.

The forced humour doesn’t save the ensemble cast who just don’t have synergy this time round. They are facing an enemy with great odds and introduce challenges and complications in a ‘by the by’ manner. There is no tension, drama, urgency or good old fashioned excitement.

The resolution and turn of events is an unceremonious as the obstacle. End result? Glad it’s over and could have spent time watching or doing something else. Points for a scene between Iron Man and the Hulk and a few frames which are slick. The rest makes Vin Diesel look good.

It’s flat, long and blah. No fun.

1.5/5

Lucy (2014)

Written and directed by Luc Beeson, this film is extraordinary because it communicates so much with the use of imagery. Working on the premise of how much we use our brain as opposed to what potential we have, this film takes a dark, action packed, gory look at what could go wrong if we meddle with nature.

Scarlett Johansson plays the title role of ‘Lucy’ who is transformed in the film with a drug which increases the use of her senses, her access to her memories and unlocks access to her brain power. What could happen if such a drug was consumed is not only scary but also shows us our untapped capabilities. She is remarkable, vulnerable as she is formidable . Morgan Freeman is his usual self, the sanity, calm and reason ‘quotient’ of an otherwise unfathomable tale.

Though she goes through a traumatic change, she unleashes herself in a very controlled manner, displaying yet unknown or unthinkable human intelligence or awareness.

The conclusion? Something I guessed (or was secretly hoping would happen) and was in awe as it unravelled on screen. It was done with such unforgiving speed and grace that you realise what information we all carry and how much we are yet to learn about ourselves.

Time exists because we do.

3.5/5

Chef (2014)

You want flavours? You got ‘em. This ensemble cast whips up a recipe which will make you chase your passion and turn you into a social networking pro! A tale about career, family, friends and all the awkward moments in between!

Written and directed by main lead Jon Favreau, who plays the creatively charged chef ‘Carl Casper’, he has a cast that include the talents of Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr., Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Oliver Platt and Russell Peters!

Their varied and distinct portrayals of real but kooky characters make this food truck journey all the more sumptuous. An ‘R-rated’ dish, it is served straight from the heart and has captured food preparation so well, that a vegetarian like me thought that the meat looked appetizing!

Tasty and recommended hot!

3.5/5

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

A complicated plot and mythological style shield warfare made the movie tedious, entertaining and laughable. I guess the audience had to just identify ‘good guy bad guy’ and relax into watching the events unfold.

The action sequences were brilliantly shot, as were the special effects, which have become standard in Hollywood. Made on a budget of 170 million USD, its already grossed over 300 million USD in its OPENING WEEKEND!

Watch it for the stunts, CGI and scale of weaponry. You have been warned about mindless anarchy, a predictable whodunit and some ‘kuch bhi’ (anything goes) scenes.

2/5

Her (2013)

Technology has invaded our space in an alarming way. It is supposed to make life easier, which it does, but also complicates it. I myself am guilty of being more in touch with my cell phone than with the company that surrounds me, so this subject is a warning of the times to come.

This film explores a society in the future where we have advanced technology to communicate, but have lost the art of communication. With all the tools at our disposal, we have forgotten how to reach and touch other people’s minds and hearts. People are lonely, relationships are fragile and we are swept in our own storm, where we have created a monster too powerful to tame.

Joaquin Phoenix writes beautiful letters for OTHER people as a living, because emotions have become a service one can pay for. A new operating system is on offer, which he buys. It calls itself ‘Samantha’, drawing on the memories and experiences of all people who have programmed it, but designed to become an ever evolving entity by itself. The voice is by Scarlett Johansson who never once makes you feel she is just a voice. She is present, in every way a person with a form would be.

How their relationship evolves, how complex the human mind and interaction becomes, what is the fate of Technology vs. Emotions, is explored in the most novel way, touching unique points of discussion never explored on screen. This is heavy duty writing, thought provoking and pushing the envelope of how helpless our society can become if not ‘humanised’.

Joaquin is our window into this world. He guides us effortlessly in the rising and falling waves of emotion experienced by him and the people he interacts with. Amy Adams is his friend who is on a similar journey and later becomes a mouth piece for his suppressed thoughts and feelings. The most warped and powerful scene involved a ‘surrogate’, something you will understand when you watch ‘her’.

Now the question is, why isn’t Scarlett Johannson nominated for any of the awards? Is it just because she was a formless voice? That would be true acknowledgement for her work which created such an impact.

3.5/5