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Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)

Director: Werner Herzog and Dmitry Vasyukov Genre: Documentary With "Happy People: A Year in the Taiga" Werner Herzog ...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Director: Peter Jackson

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Summary: A definite improvement on its predecessor, falling only slightly short of an ardent fan’s sky-high expectation—nonetheless, an entertainer that is bound to grow on you with repeated viewings. 

Plus Points:
Good to see Jackson venturing into the relatively uncharted sections of the book, things that J.R.R. Tolkien left to reader’s imagination or just briefly mentioned, for example: 
  • Expulsion of Sauron from Dol Guldur by Gandalf and co.
Jackson also gives some identity to the otherwise generalized evil characters in the novel, like, Azog the Defiler, Bolg. This does give 'evil-side' some heavyweight counterparts to match against the plenty of known good characters. 

Addition of Tauriel and Legolas in the film was a masterstroke too, and will work really well when film reaches the crescendo in the Battle of Five Armies. Inclusion of Legolas in the ‘Hobbit’ storyline is actually quite a shrewd move, since there in nothing in Tolkien’s writings that denies it. However, it means Legolas and Bilbo were acquainted to one another prior to the fellowship’s meet at Rivendale (in LOTR)—there is nothing in LOTR film that indicates this or otherwise!  

Open barrel ride was another great modification; the low-key and secretive barrel-escape of the novel, wouldn’t have worked with the audience not familiar with Tolkien's work.  

Some Drawbacks:
In Hobbit 1, exclusion of Gwaihir the Windlord—the king of magnificent talking eagles—was the one of the biggest disappointment for me, personally (totally empathize this omission, though). In this film, it is the mistreatment of Beorn’s character; got his grandiose represented horribly wrong. To rub salt to the wound, script completely abridges Beorn’s role to a meager sneak peek. There is so much potential to tap in and Jackson knows it better than most. Hope they redeem Beorn's to its deserving glory in the final battle.

Length of the film is not an issue here; it is the improper utilization of length that makes the film drag at times. Could have invested more time on Beorn, of course.

Visuals and special effects are undoubtedly brilliant...just like all the previous films. Hence, 'humdrumness' of  visuals work well for someone new to the franchise, whereas, for someone who has followed it all through, film's special effects offer nothing new. It wouldn't be counted as a drawback for any lesser director...but from Jackson we expect magic every time! 

Overall, a good film that seems more of a stepping stone to the grand final, or so I hope!


Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Conjuring (2013)

Director: James Wan
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston  

Plot: Parren family moves to a beautiful country house, soon to find out it's haunted. The Warrenssupernatural researchersare the only ones who can help.
The Conjuring (2013)
Based on real life accounts of Parren family's paranormal experiences with demonic entities and Warren couple helping them out, The Conjuring has a very generic plot that is just about perfectly executed.

Director James Wan explores the well-worn horror sub-genre 'haunted house in remote country' and comes up trump. It is indeed one of the better crafted horror films in recent timespunching well above its weight all throughthat is buoyed up by solid performances from all and sundry.

The film doesn't simply surge into action, it first sets up an eerie atmosphere that envelops the viewers, yet steers clear of any yawn inducing moments. At the same time, it isn't overcrowded with exaggerated spooky moments either, just enough to keep the audiences on the edge of their seats.

Post-film, "Hide-and-clap" is definitely going to be the in-thing (along the lines of Bloody Mary, if you recall that). There are some neatly accomplished and decisive scenes around clairvoyant Mrs.Warren's perceptive visionswatch out for ones by the gloomy lake! Moreover, it isn't just a hard-core horror film that taxes you no end, there are some very dulcet family-time scenes and lighthearted humor too, that eventually make viewers feel/care more for the characters.

Best part was watching the film in good, old 2D with bare minimum digital effects.

Overall, a good watchexperience enhanced more because of  a well-engaged, reactive yet disciplined, theater audience! 

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