Interstellar, 2014

“Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

This magnificent verse by the poet Dylan Thomas has been used by the protagonists in this fantastic film as the raison d’être for space exploration, and what a beautiful reason it is altogether. For man is bestowed with so many beautiful qualities that includes in no small measure the burning desire to go where no man has gone before no matter the cost, and in this case, to go because it is the only option for survival. But to do so fiercely, not ambivalently, makes it ever so much more remarkable.

For those who might view this as a mere sci-fi movie, I’d caution against rushing to judgment. Yes, there’s wild and fantastical imagery of interstellar space discoveries including black holes, alternate universes, and an exemplification of the mind-bending quality of the theories of relativity, but beyond that this is a story of love. The love of a father for his daughter and vice versa, the love of a son for his father and vice versa, the love of a sister and brother for each other, and the love for life itself. The kind of love that makes you give up everything you love for the sake of love. I beg your pardon for that seemingly mushy synopsis, but how else to explain why we do what we do.

McConaughey gives quite the performance, and is actually true to form with his Texas-drawl. As a side-bar, I wonder if non-native speakers of English might have to pay close attention to his speech for fear of missing it! The others are all big-names as well, and each adds to the overall drama of the story. I thought the musical score was good for the most part, but climactic more often than necessary.

I recommend watching it on an IMAX screen if at all possible, and to prepare for a long ride. In the end, the only one thing that survives us all is love. And suffice to say that the recipe for ensuring the survival of love is to never go gentle into that good night, and to always rage against the dying of the light. (Which is why I can’t bring myself to blow out birthday candles on a cake anymore, but that is another story.)

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263/365/02

Absolutely fantastic!

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Bang Bang!, 2014

There is a certain genre of Hindi movie that falls into the realm of mindless surrealism.  In the vernacular, it is referred to as a “masala” movie.

Bang Bang! is the latest offering in the genre, and what a fine specimen it is.  It’s got great James Bond-style action, lots of songs, great dancing, pretty faces, and melodrama galore.

What more could you possibly want on a Friday night? :)

Here’s what I mean:

 

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This is Where I Leave You, 2014

This is where I roll my eyes and begin to make gagging sounds…

Well, maybe that is a bit uncharitable given the all-star cast of actors that this film boasts, but I do believe it portrays a plethora of dysfunctions all in one family that just seems one too many, and I wonder if audiences worldwide (forgive me for always considering the worldview) might get the impression that this may be more the norm to all American families in general. And that it perhaps takes the most dire of reunions such as those to be had at funerals to settle differences, conflicts, and unresolved childhood and adolescent issues.

Jane Fonda, Tina Fey, and Jason Bateman are all quite shining in their performances, but you somehow wish they were put to work on a better script. There are certainly a few moments of unbridled comedy, but they unfortunately are not overwhelmingly in favor of making the film a memorable one.

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The Drop, 2014

Bad guys look like good guys look like bad guys. But not everyone is kind to pets. And tough girls are really soft on the inside and sometimes like bad guys who may happen to be good guys. Or not.

Well, all this in the historic borough of Brooklyn in New York City should make for an exciting story – only, it happens to be only mildly interesting, all things considered.

Naomi Rapace, the girl from the Dragon series trilogy gives a good performance, and James Gandolfini is very much in his element in this last performance of his acting career and life. Although lacking in a tight storyline, there is an element of suspense and a twist toward the end, and the bartender Bob, an actor by the name of Tom Hardy that I am not familiar with, actually does quite a decent job of projecting a certain façade while concealing dark secrets that we don’t learn about until the very end.

Overall, somewhat forgettable, but no major regrets for having gone to the movies on a Wednesday night.

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Discount Day? I Guess That’s Our Cue!

The last picture James Gandolfini was in.

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Finding Fanny, 2014

You know how you sometimes can eat a meal in a fancy restaurant but come away feeling no satisfaction for having had it? That is somewhat how yours truly felt from having watched Fanny albeit having gone in with great expectations for a fine feast.

One can only hope that Dimple Kapadia’s huge posterior must have been a prosthetic one, and if not, well, then one wonders how she could have let herself go like that. But regardless of how real or artificial said posterior might be, I would venture to say that it was probably one of the more interesting elements of the film.

Which is surely saying very little, for the cast is indeed an impressive one. With character actors such as Naseeruddin Shah and Pankaj Kapur in the fore, not to mention Kapadia herself, alongside the young and beautiful likes of Deepika Padukone and her love interest Arjun Kapoor, one would expect to be sucked into a grand tale with fine acting. Alas, no matter how fine the acting, the tale itself was a very weak and shaky one, and by the end of it all, one is not sure if the appropriate reaction ought to be irritation, disappointment, or even mild anger. Because, how can it be that with such a lovely group of actors in a setting as picturesque as the small verdant towns of the western coastal state of Goa, could such drivel be drummed up.

The movie is all in English which is all fine and good, and perhaps the only interesting note that reflects the linguistic diversity of the country. And the other redeeming feature, of course, is the lovely landscape of Goa.

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