Charlie is an English teacher and suffers from morbid obesity. He carries 600 pounds and lives an isolated life. Nearing his death, he wishes to reconnect with his wife and daughter.
‘The Whale‘ is a play written in 2012 by playwright Samuel D. Hunter. It was then dramatized in different theatres and Darren Aronofsky happened to watch one of the productions which made him decide to direct the play as the film with the same title with Samuel as the screenwriter.
So why the inception of ‘The Whale‘ took around ten years? Because Darren was not able to find the right actor who can play such a difficult role until Brendan Fraser.
The actor himself had been struggling for years with health issues and personal losses. And he was looking for the right project that would bring him back into the game. ‘The Whale’ is now the biggest talking point in Fraser’s acting career.
‘The Whale’ is a psychological drama set on Charlie’s last five living days at home. The film has extremely limited characters and only revolves around Charlie’s residence. Therefore, the film has the rich ambiance of a theatrical play. Charlie has a nurse Liz whom he considers his only friend. A visitor from the New Life Church often visits to him for spiritual rebirth but neither he takes interest nor Liz. The core of the drama is centralized on the complex relationship between Charlie and his estranged daughter Ellie.
This film is a huge favor for the audience to understand how the pain of a personal loss deteriorates health. And due to psychological problems, he also suffers from binge-eating disorder (BED). He is an introvert and due to his weight issue, he is highly insecure to socialize with people.
One of the story arcs of the film is his behind-the-door effort for formal conversation with a pizza delivery guy which was interesting. Here, Charlie is depicted to have tried to socialize after he never showed up at the door to receive pizzas. During the online classes, he switches his webcam off. So the detailing of his behavioral attitude will grow on the audience.
Something that I never expected from Brendan Fraser was him to be that good. I know, he is a good actor and had been trying to raise the bar of his performance and fame to be remembered. But being so magnificent was out of line. It is not easy to sit your ass six hours a day and wear nearly 300 pounds of prosthetics every day shooting with that emotional accuracy and acting consistency.
One can rub off the claim that it is just the support of prosthetics that makes his performance look legit. That is not the case. Watch how he grunts in pain when he syllabically reads the sentences. Watch him in the last sequence when he confesses while inhaling laboriously and then cries in pain. And the most heartbreaking was when he begs Mary and says “I need to know that I have done one thing right in my life”. Those are not prosthetics, those are gems of human emotions superbly performed.
AND THE OSCAR GOES TO…
Academy Award for Best Actor? Honestly, it is a tie between him and Austin Butler for Elvis. Both are magnificent performances for two entirely different roles. One cannot say that one of them bettered the other at all. For the first time at the Oscars, I would love to observe the joint Best Actor awards. The only way that will do justice.
‘The Whale’ is a tragic tale that will depress and kill you from the inside. The reality behind feeling better after reading the Moby-Dick essay is the new parallel of loving someone. Almost the entire review has been about Brendan Fraser because that is the reality. It is his presence and the story is fully centered around his character. Watch the performance of a lifetime.
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In 1926, a Mexican immigrant Manuel ‘Manny’ Torres gets involved with Nellie LaRoy in a wild crazy party run by a film studio executive. Soon, Manny gets a job in the studio and Nellie becomes a star. But fates begin to change when the golden silence meets its voice and the pictures go talkie.
Babylon is a time traveler to America where the booming period of the silent era was soon meeting its end. By that time, many actors and filmmakers had found success and earned a lot of money because watching silent films across America was still fresh. I am talking about feature films in America that began in 1915 when ‘The Birth of a Nation‘ was released.
So this film is not based on a real-life event but is inspired by a few stories of that period. Director Damien Chazelle briefed the audience and puzzled into a story. The purpose is to show that many successful artists and production companies of the silent era couldn’t make it and got liquidated. They lost their way, got vanished. Some tried to work in other business lines, some began to work hard for bread and butter, and some committed suicide.
The film tries to settle the audience in a mesmerizing dramatization of shooting a war scene and the struggle behind arranging the camera and managing the crew in a broad daylight. Shooting a film one hundred years ago was tormenting.
I particularly liked the sequence where Nellie had to shoot in a studio where something repeatedly messes up and has to improve in retakes without any certainty of any error in extreme heat.
PICTURING THE HISTORIC MOMENT
A scene where Manny is shocked to witness the audience going berserk in joy about a talkie scene was accurate to the actual footage Damien Chazelle used here. A few of you may have gotten the idea but let me tell you that this was a historic moment during the proceedings of the 1927 film ‘The Jazz Singer‘ when Al Jolson said “Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet”. These were the first spoken words in any feature film. And that marked the end of the silent era.
It was extremely important to show this moment to the audience and I believe it was a fabulous shot.
BACCHANALIA AT THE START
Were the parties that wild as depicted in the opening sequence? Not sure to what level of craziness can bewilder into assuming it is accurate. It was like The Great Gatsby meets The Wolf of Wall Street one hot evening. I was just lost in a marvelous production and costume designing, and heavily detailed choreography.
Another vital fact from the 1920s Babylon captures is the controversial ‘Blackface‘. It was a kind of makeup to portray a caricature of a black person. Jazz trumpeter Sidney Palmer is requested to use blackface to make his skin further dark for the Southern audience. It was heartbreaking to see Sidney’s reaction. It was an insult and who knows, how often this happened in those times.
Amongst all the performances, Margot Robbie has the standout performance. That display of incredible body language, and mental breakdown, she is a beautiful and exceptional actress. And I feel sorry for her. She deserved the nomination for Best Actress at the Oscars but couldn’t make it perhaps because the film failed at the box office. And this is what I do not like. If the film flops, so goes the chance of getting nominated.
Babylon was financed at nearly $80 million dollars but grossed only $50 million, not domestically but worldwide. This is an outrageous business.
Now, why the film failed at the box office? Screen time is the biggest reason that clocks around 190 minutes! Three hours and ten minutes of showing the audience the transition from silent to sound and how the main characters begin to fade. I am sorry but that is kind of lazy writing that will bore the audience to death.
Damien Chazelle was lost in presenting to us his visual artistry and his idea for glamour, sexuality, hedonism, and a few more. There were many scenes that were needless. The whole Tobey Maguire segment was a waste of time and contributed nothing to the story. In fact, what is the story of Babylon? Maybe I was lost in gazing at Margot Robbie that I didn’t question the story to myself.
Babylon is a beautiful distraction. Perhaps, the film works better if it is rewritten as a musical. Deservingly nominated for both costume and production design. Should have also been nominated for Best Editing. It is a massive blunder!
Babylon wants us the see the shining stars falling from the sky and fading in the proceeding. It is like our lives; we will gloom once we age. It also shows that if you do not keep it with the world, you will lose the path. The acceptance will diminish. The remembrance will suffer amnesia.
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In the Kingdom of Wakanda, T’Challa dies of some illness. His mother leads the nation but Wakanda slowly looks to become vulnerable to the intervention of the world powers.
Wakanda is alarmed by the arrival of Namor, the King of Talokan, a civilization that lives underwater. He proposes to become allies and protect each other by striking the world powers since T’Challa revealed Wakanda’s true nature to them by the end of the first film. And then the conflict begins.
The sequel of Black Panther holds immense sentimental value as Chadwick Bosman passed away from colon cancer a couple of years ago. It was decided that the sequel will still continue with no new actor to replace him for Black Panther. So it became a bigger challenge to proceed like that with a story that has the potential to deservingly continue the legacy that Chadwick left.
And I fully appreciate director Ryan Coogler to come up with a story and screenplay that strengthen the continuity. T’Challa’s sister Shuri is the new Black Panther and I think no one deserves more than her after Chadwick. The large gap that T’Challa has left to fill for impactful leadership is well-directed. The emergence of Namor further intensifies Shuri’s concern as the CIA is helpless this time.
During all this, Queen Ramonda gets a much more solid outing this time as compared to the previous film. And Angela Bassett has given a pretty remarkable performance, especially the scene where she breaks down and laments. Angela’s best feature about her role is the body language of grief that was carried well. She already had lost her husband in Civil War and her son at the start. And then Shuri got kidnapped.
Surely, everyone heartfelt the funeral of T’Challa at the beginning. But my objection here is why none of the Avengers showed up at the funeral. I understand that the whole fighting crew will not assemble and attend the funeral of every superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when they die like Iron Man. But this was a different case due to the real death of an actor. And I loved how the MCU’s traditional opening credits fully honored him. He deserved that.
One can easily differentiate the directional artistry of this Wakanda Forever from most of the MCU films. The tone is serious and looks pretty much for a mature audience. The film slipped only once when Shuri and Okoye go to collect Riri.
Shuri herself is quite young and now introduces Riri who is Ironheart. Ironheart is quite a new comic character created by Brian Michael Bendis that made debut a few years ago. She will have her own show later this year.
I am very much delighted to see Namor’s debut. Although I am unsure if the origin story the film ran is accurate to comics because I have never read him but I liked the connection to how he is brought to this exciting world. So if you have any knowledge of how accurate is Namor in comics, share it with me.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a rare DNA amongst its equals in the MCU and deserves praise for being a film that stood for its story and matured well. Yes, at a length of 160 minutes, the film did slow down in the middle but justified because Namor was to be detailed. But the legacy of Wakanda and T’Challa has neither faded nor been ruined. It is convincingly amongst the best films Marvel Studios has ever produced.
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Six years ago, Leslie ‘Lee’ Rowlands won a lottery of $190,000. Six years later, she is a drug addict and a jobless woman.
‘To Leslie‘ is a two-hour indie film that focuses on a troubled woman who is wandering here and there and sleeping on the streets. She recently got kicked out of a motel. Her 20-year-old son, who has distanced himself from her, had to take her. She is struggling but the mental and physical collapse is certain due to her addiction to smoking and drinking. She is just not able to get rid of it.
This film or the character of Lee is the director’s best effort to highlight the cases of homeless people on the streets who are begging for help in form of money, job, and shelter. And Lee’s case is a sorry case. For what she did with her life, the consequences were likely.
But as the legend says that there is always an angel knocking on the door sooner or later to all of us who guides us to live a life out of nowhere. I think the film pressed that worriedness well.
More than the film’s continuity as it stood predictable, I was lost in the central performance. Andrea Riseborough as Lee is a born-to-play-the-role effort. A performance that makes me assume that what I watched was not dramatized at all. I observed a woman in her misery, all helpless and lost. Rejected by society, and mocked by her own. Her body language and mannerism were just outstanding.
Just watch her when the son quarrels with the neighbor or that two-and-a-half-minute one-shot scene at the pub when Lee listens to Willie Nelson‘s ‘Are You sure‘ and goes lost and frost in melancholy. My favorite scene is the unexpected mother-son reunion. Every inch of emotion was wholeheartedly felt there.
The speculations and controversy around Andrea’s nomination for Best Actress in this year’s Oscar are unfortunate. If the rules are violated, I am not sure if the nomination will be dropped or what. Director Michael Morris and his wife organized a “celeb-backed campaign” to get her nominated. Whereas the Academy rules forbid individuals from personally or directly lobbying voters in campaign-related communications.
Whatever is happening out there. I am looking at a critical matter. What is the fate of small-budget indie films? How to reach the Oscar if the film is lesser known but has all the potential to get a couple of nominations if not a few? There has to be a way.
This film has 97% of positive backing from the aggregate of critics’ reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. But guess what, this film grossed only $27,000 in the business. But this doesn’t mean Andrea does not deserve it at all.
I recommend you watch the film for Andrea’s performance.
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The Fabelmans are a Jewish family that lives in New Jersey. One night, Mitzi and Burt take their son Sammy to a cinema to watch ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. Sammy takes a special interest in the action sequences and gets overwhelmed by watching a train crashing scene. This moment of his life begins to shape his fondness for filmmaking but the domestic troubles of the dysfunctional family frequently interrupt his purpose in life.
With time, he understands by working with the cameras that shooting films from different angles gives more exposure and can fetch heavy consequences.
Sometimes, you are so successful that it becomes important to let people know that reaching this grand stage and receiving a standing ovation comes with a price. Passion for something drives you to difficult paths. There are more chances of dislikes and refusals than acceptance especially if you are white in the United States of America but not Christian.
Shaming over faith, face and name was the norm after the Great War because many European immigrants moved to America. I am not talking about the Black history here, that is a separate chapter that highlights the extreme racism and cruelty over more than 300 years. Here, I am talking about the Jewish immigrants who suffered tough times but later on, progressed.
The Fabelmans is the latest play from the never-aging artistry of the illustrious career of Steven Spielberg. It is his most personal film to date because Sammy Fabelman is him.
The Fabelmans is based on the Spielbergs where the legendary director opens up in all honesty about his first crush on filmmaking, the parental bridge that collapsed, the choice his parents asked him to make other than filming, the fire that ignited by distrust, and much more.
The Fabelmans are every household that relates their troubles with them. It is a drama that points out that the relationship of humans with mistakes is infinite to waste precious time in regretting something that has passed. It will hurt you all your life but the passion for something will drive you through it.
Because, it is a hybrid of psychology and philosophy that when you love something that begins to construct your life on that, the herbs of agitation and pains of the troubling past connect with it. And I observed this theory of mine perfectly dramatized in ‘The Fabelmans’. As much as Sammy Fabelman grew on his passion, the subjectivity of life’s precious discomforts become more visible in his work.
Can you observe what was the turning point in the film? Where did Sammy find chutzpah? If we simplify the plot, the family blessed and broke him as the story continued to age. But where was the moment he came to the senses that propelled him to follow his heart like never before? It was when Uncle Boris gave him a life lesson.
That was a significant moment in Sammy’s life. The words that fall from Uncle Boris’ mouth were that of Merlin. Whatever he uttered became true in the remainder of the film.
“Art will give you crowns and laurels on earth. But, it will tear your heart out and leave you lonely. You’ll be a shanda for your loved ones.”
A kind of life lesson only an old-timer can utter. Judd Hirsch has given a performance of a lifetime. Imagine the weight of a performance that gets an actor nominated for an Oscar who appeared in the film for ONLY NINE MINUTES. That body language and mental strength at the age of 87 are so hard to observe nowadays.
METICULOUS DRAMATIC SCREENPLAY
The biggest plus of the film being so emotionally deep to the director is that the film doesn’t struggle to settle for emotions. In a space of 150 minutes, the story of Fabelmans grows with a meticulous screenplay. The first dinner talk, the siblings’ experimental plays, and the tornado scene that develops Mitzi’s mental showdown that had created doubts for the audience before.
Mitzi’s nightgown dance on the camping trip was so meaningful and highlighted the behavioral attitudes of different characters that actually grew throughout the film. Even before the daughter ran to her, we all felt awkward.
Sammy discovering the shocking moment in the reel was so hard-hitting. The fluctuation of the mother-son relation was well dramatized. Spielberg dramatized the sudden intensity so perfectly. The mother-son violence sequence was a jaw-dropper.
The anti-Semetic bullying scenes at the school were blood-boiling. How helpless a boy can be? I am surprised that no one took action for that.
And those Sam-Monica moments were every young spectator’s warm sentiments building the hormones and uncontrollable feelings. Richard Linklater! Was that you directing those Sam-Monica scenes? In fact, the entire high school dramatization was so Richard Linklater class!
And this is the beauty of Steven Spielberg’s direction. The continuity of his dramas perfectly grows on the audience. I want to especially praise the camera work of Janusz Kaminski who helped in emphasizing the detailing of some critical moments in the film. Like Sammy walking towards his room after his mother hits him. And the zoomed shots of Sammy’s face when his doubts skyrocket. And when Mitzi is exposed to Sam’s discovery in a one-shot assists the actress to display some incredible fall of emotions.
Speaking of actress, Michelle Williams has given a stunning performance that has everything an actress requires to exceed our expectations. And if I am not wrong, she has mostly been like that. Maybe this is not her best performance as she has done that quite often but I opine to believe that she is unlucky if she doesn’t win the Oscar once again.
And I must mention how brilliantly every actor performed. And when I say ‘every’, that includes the young siblings. Just watch both the sisters when the parents announce the bad news. Good to see Seth Rogen in quite a different setup. Gabrielle LaBelle is an exciting find and was a very impressive performance of Sam Fabelman. I am not forgetting Paul Dano at all but there wasn’t that much about his performance.
The Fabelmans is a reminder that successful people fail to leave melancholy behind. The film convinces us that struggle and fate are bound together. The wait is pretty long but if you stick with your passion, the opportunity eventually knocks on the door.
The film successfully proves that the parents do make mistakes and that too, critical mistakes. And children mentally suffer. You have to let things go instead of poisoning them for a lifetime.
‘The Fabelmans’ is an accomplishment in filmmaking. I’ll say that this is the best coming-of-age film since Boyhood.
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Pádraic and Colm have been lifelong friends until one day Colm decides to sever the ties by considering him ‘dull’ for him. Colm is a folk musician and feels that old age is catching him. Therefore, he now wants to be remembered by people after he dies. So he concentrates on composing music. But Pádraic is unable to buy this sudden contort and repeatedly tries to break the ice which later on has heavy consequences.
‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ is an emotional drama that is not skeptical about reflecting on the dynamics of companionship. It is a well-thought signature of substance that roots in the mediocrity of dysfunctional distrait in a relationship.
Let me forward you why the film is so noisy about a silent assassination of a friendship.
INCIDENT RATHER THAN A STORY
The films usually dramatize a story where the characters have to grow with time, meet their peak point and proceed toward a conclusion. But this film dramatizes an incident of a life that occurs in a small community between the two whose friendship was known to everyone there. The whole screen time is invested in the troubling impact of a sudden breakup. The film wishes to broaden the aftermath of severity.
DEPTH OF AGONY
There are always human errors on both ends that builds ice between a long-lasting friendship. Some move on and others don’t. Colm is calm about what he stands for. But Pádraic is broken. The significance lies in the attempts and every time Pádraic meets disappointments.
The writing could have been easily ridiculed in dramatizing this segment of endeavor but the annoyance is well handled by bringing arguments, applying realistic humor, and directing Colm’s silly ego leading towards shocking consequences.
You have to be a very genuine storyteller if you are interested to present an emotional tragedy that occurs in friendship but not in some romanticism. The value of pain is subtle because angst of Colm is unexplainable. He warns Pádraic that he will cut his fingers if he bothers him.
This madness for me is artistic because this kind of warning is a heavy reference to Vincent van Gogh, a famous Dutch painter who mutilated his left ear to seek his painter friend Paul Gauguin‘s attention. Being aware of his state of being a folk musician and how worthy his fingers are to play his violin, he still is unmoved about his foolishness to display.
The British presentation of lives in the countryside has always been sublime and rich. ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ is another good example of working on aesthetics that gives you a natural feeling of togetherness. The British tone for the village and small talk settles so easily.
The characters circulating in this small part do not require an introduction at all. It grows on the audience naturally. The local Garda, a publican, a physically abused kid, a postmistress, and the old lady, all fit and settle in the film so easily.
WHAT IS ‘THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN’?
The title of the film is quite a collection of unused words and thus, sounds interesting. Inisherin is a fictional isle that is set on multiple islands. The word ‘Banshee‘ comes from Gaelic folklore it is a female spirit whose wailing is considered a dark sign for a family that one of them will die soon. The physical appearance of Mrs. McCormick perfectly qualifies as one of the ‘Banshee’ of Inisherin.
The film carries technical brilliance in cinematography and direction. The film is strongly led by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as Pádraic and Colm. Their screen presence in their arguments is visibly astounding.
‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ is not a story but a moment of our life and this is why it is so heartwarming and emotional from the human point of view. If there is a tangible form of self-destruction, it exists in ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’.
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Young Paul Bäumer and his school friends join the Imperial German Army. They get excited when the uniforms are handed over to them and begin to romanticize their gallantry on the battlefield. Not a single clue do they have what they are about to watch as they are moved to the Western Front to fight trench warfare against the French.
In 1928, the German novelist Erich Maria Remarque published “Im Westen nichts Neues” based on his experience when he joined the army to fight the great war. The book achieved widespread critical acclaim and sold 2.5 million copies in the first 18 months.
Two years later, the book was adapted into an American film “All Quiet on the Western Front”. The film won both the Best Picture and Best Director awards at the Oscar, the first to do so. Also, the first to win Best Picture that was based on a novel.
Unsurprisingly, the author was declared ‘unpatriotic’ by the government in the following years, and his books were banned, removed from the libraries, and burned. There had never been a film produced in any part of the world that adapted this novel until none other than a German film production decided to adapt it.
‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ is based on the final events of the first World War dramatizing blood-boiling painstaking action sequences that reflect the mental and physical trauma the German soldiers faced and suffered.
The most successful point about the film is that it is a period film that magnificently establishes and serves its purpose to be an anti-war film. Usually, films based on war try to glamorize the heroics of one and satanize the other. Some war films focus on basing the film on a depressive note highlighting a tragic story that suffered during the war. But the essence of this film lies in the negative nature of the war. This film successfully proves that war brings no hope but despair.
‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ is extremely human with a realistic approach towards the mannerism and wants. For example, a few soldiers witness some French women walking in the fields. It is such a delight for them to watch after such rough times on the field. One of the soldiers couldn’t resist and spent some time with one of them and returned with a woman’s scarf as a souvenir. When the soldier shows the scarf to his friends, each of them smells and feels it. An accurate and very understood affection the human is bound to take pleasure in after fighting on the field.
There are a few such scenes that recognize trying to establish some sense to the most powerful people in the world today. An illiterate soldier asks Paul to read his wife’s letter to him. A soldier collects the lockets of identifications and spots the one who saved him before. The one that was very compelling was when Paul repeatedly stabs a French soldier and distances himself. Seeing him dying remorses him and then he makes an unsuccessful attempt to save him but it is too late. The message was clear in this incredibly shot scene, the war brings no peace but destruction.
The significance of gas masks has been highlighted in this film. Somewhere in the first 20 minutes, the German troop is immediately alarmed by the gas attack and ordered to wear a gas mask. In the midst of the film, 60 of the missing troops are killed by the gas because they mistakenly took off their masks soon.
The use of this psychological weapon of a chemical attack was the counterattack of the French. Because it was the Germans who introduced this poison gas when they used it in the Second Battle of Ypres in Belgium in April 1915. If I am not wrong, this was the first ever poison gas attack in warfare history. How ironic to see the German Army being the victim of what they created!
One of the most critical observations about this film is at the beginning of the film. Rational and thoughtful. When the soldiers get killed in the war and buried in their coffins. Their uniforms are washed, pressed, properly starched, sewed, and made to look new and fresh product that gets reused by the new recruits who wore them excitedly.
This matter can be taken lightly or pressed in a positive or a negative matter. Fully depends if you are okay with that or if you find it rubbish. From a positive angle, it is the transfer of honor from one to the other.
From a negative and a more critical perspective, the uniforms were handed over without respecting the martyred because the uniforms could have been delivered to the families. Perhaps the film wants to show that the-then army didn’t want to invest in the new uniforms. Or maybe this is how it is in some parts of the world. I have no knowledge about it but in all honesty, I feel the uniform of the martyred either should be handed over to their family or bury the martyred in that uniform.
The film remarkably settled the balance of the noisy battles and the table-talk silence. The latter part is the people in power trying to outdo each other. I found out on the internet that the scene of the armistice is not in the novel. But I am okay with it because including the events of the armistice was extremely important as the film intended to show how the first World War actually concluded.
It is highly accurate that the armistice was signed between Germany and the Allied Governments at 5am and would take effect at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month. And the battle was intentionally fought until 11 am.
But I am not sure about the real reason behind the six-hour delay. Why the war has to end at 11am? Why not at 5am when the armistice is signed? There were nearly 11,000 casualties on the final day of the war. 3000 of those lost their lives in those six hours. A very costly delay but the film took the responsibility to dramatize the fight of those six hours that you may rather call brave and courageous or foolish and madness.
I didn’t base my film review to develop a discussion about history but to inform the readers that ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ is one of the most human films based on a great war and reflected on its consequences. An anti-war film that does not allow to glamorize heroism but rather dramatizes it as the need of the hour.
The ugly sense of blindness about the harsh realities of war are well dramatized. The displaying of horrifying war action sequences in compelling cinematography is breathtaking. This film would have looked more realistic if directed in monochrome.
One of the biggest achievements of the film is that despite the fact that it is a German film based on the Imperial German Army, the audience will not distinguish it but consider it as a loss to humanity showing no concern about what side you are on.
The film is a dead man’s poetry that flew away and sunk into the mud. It is one of the most honest representations of the tragic human phase of the fighting soldiers who died in the most brutal fashion with a picture of his wife and kids in their pockets.
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After sleeping for five thousand years, Teth Adam returns as the savior of his nation Kahndaq from the crime syndicate called ‘Intergang‘.
When his wrath on the cruelty results in casualties, Amanda Waller alarms Hawkman to look after the matter before the consequences turn worse. Hawkman assembles the Justice Society (JSA) and therefore begins a clash of antiheroism between the rights and wrongs occurring in Kahndaq.
Black Adam is finally released after years of speculation and theorizing the certainties of how to connect the dots with this film to the entire DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Being one of the most awaited films from Warner Bros. and DC Comics, Dwayne Johnson left no space to hype his most promising project to date.
Not off-topic but the Black Adam film tries to stay in touch with comic roots but not accurately. But it is necessary to speak about a few points that I observed in the film.
Isn’t Black Adam a JSA member?
Yes, it is true that Black Adam was not a part of JSA. He became a JSA member pretty late. If I am not wrong, he wasn’t a part of JSA in the golden, silver, and bronze ages. He became JSA in 2001, even after heroes like Black Canary, Stargirl, and Hawkgirl.
It is amusing to see that Atom Smasher was the nephew of the original Atom Smasher played by our beloved Fonzie, Henry Winkler in a cameo. Henry’s character Al Pratt is The Atom and as mentioned before, one of JSA’s founding members. Worth observing is that Doctor Fate and The Atom are old and hence represent the golden generation of JSA.
While Cyclone requests an entry permit at the gate, a few of you may happen to notice the screen outside the gate showing up her data. Yes, she indeed is the relative, the granddaughter of Abigail Hunkel a.k.a, Red Tornado. This also means that Red Tornado was also part of the golden team of JSA.
The screen also indicates that Cyclone is a very intelligent student. In comics, she is a student of Harvard University and has a slightly different but still mindblowing score of 4.0 GPA and 1300 SAT.
The freedom fighter in the film Adrianna Tomaz is a disappointing character alteration. In comics, she actually is Black Adam’s wife Isis and she has a major role in Black Adam’s life as she dies and Black Adam in fury begins to kill the entire human race in the World War III storyline.
Kahndaq in the present day is oppressed and occupied by the international mercenaries called ‘Intergang‘. Now, what is Intergang?
Intergang in comics is a crime syndicate that was run by the Mannheims (Boss and his son Ugly) and the Edges (Vincent and his son Morgan). The organization was armed with advanced technology supplied by the New Gods of the planet Apokolips. Yes, Darkseid was the benefactor who was using the organization to disinter the anti-life equation.
Here, I am really hoping that Darkseid is not the benefactor of the Intergang just like in comics. Because if DCEU shows his planet supplying arms and technologies to them then how come Darkseid is unable to trace down where the planet earth is? That will be the biggest plothole ever.
The CGI and action sequences are impressive. I loved the fighting between Black Adam and Hawkman/Doctor Fate. Aldis Hodge as Hawkman and Pierce Brosnan as Fate were the best performers in the film. They were heavily suited to the roles and did justice.
The costumes in the film were close to perfection. Even if comic books had a little different idea, it was equally exciting observing the heroes in these costumes.
The mid-credit scene of Superman’s arrival to face Black Adam definitely is exhilarating and the audience expects more from here. Honestly, if I was in Amanda’s position, I would rather send Shazam to Black Adam, not Superman.
Black Adam held a lot of importance for an ever-collapsing DCEU to boost financial expectations, and critical acclaim, and make the film acceptable to the audience. But once again, neither critics accepted nor the audience in majority held the film in supreme compliment like they usually do for Marvel releases.
At a budget of over $200 million, the film has done a global business of only $389.2 million until 13th December which is a sheer disappointment, I assume not even break-in. Wakanda Forever, which was released three weeks after Black Adam has grossed $769 million at a budget of $250 million.
So what went wrong with Black Adam? Was the film overhyped? Is Black Adam that bad? YES.
Only 125 Minutes?
Black Adam lacks a standard screen time under which Black Adam and the Justice Society deserved a lot of minutes to develop the screenplay and the characters.
Black Adam was more of a typical science-fiction action-thriller than a superhero film. In the screen capacity of only two hours, the film had a lot to do to settle the audience with the politics of Kahndaq, the origins of Teth Adam, JSA’s own introduction, and the antagonist of the film. Thus, the writing of the film repeatedly faltered and strongly reminded me of Josstice League.
I think Warner Bros. still haven’t learned from their mistakes or maybe Black Adam is the final film of Walter Hamada‘s troubling era as president and we shall witness improvement under the new presidency of David Zaslav since Warner Bros. and Discovery have merged.
With the given plot, Black Adam was no less than a three-hour film. Due to the extremely short length of the film, the makers failed to dramatize a lot about Teth Adam’s backstory and ran most of that part in the narration.
The worst underdevelopment of the story is the Justice Society. Hawkman introduced and narrated their backstories and assembled them within three minutes. Within three minutes! The screenplay has a plane to catch and also to catch the train to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) like that. The same formula Warner Bros. stick with in the past when Justice League and Suicide Squad were introduced and assembled within a few minutes.
And then the worst of the kind of the writing element in such a dark and tragic chapter of Teth Adam and the entire plot, needless and unnecessary humor stretched to more than a limit.
The application of jokes on such a serious plot clearly looked intentional by the makers. The jokes were fitting nowhere and not making any sense at all. Let me share with you some ‘fUnNy’ moments for your ha-has. When Adrianna successfully establishes communication between Black Adam and the Justice Society, Atom Smasher is eating a bucket of chicken.
Black Adam breaking the walls to enter the other room instead of using the door looks senseless. Were there no doors five thousand years back? If that happened in the comics is the other thing, just like Batman disappearing in a blink. The character of Karim was annoying and close to being unreal.
Speaking of unrealistic, the writing of this film is very incoherent and full of dumb plotholes. Teth Adam exposes himself to the city and besides a few scores of witnesses in shock, people are generally busy in their usual routine.
A bigger dumb plothole is that Intergang guys are still checking cars at the checkpoint. No one in the intergang is alarmed about Black Adam’s return, it is the boy Amon who indicates them to witness him. No social media or news media breaks the news about something supernatural that has shown up in the city. Why didn’t Fate take the crown of Sabbac from Amon’s bag?
JSA not knowing Teth Adam in the first place and believe it to be a myth looks displaced. Many JSA members have been on different planets for thousands and maybe millions of years. How come they do not understand how to put up a fight against Teth Adam?
Why didn’t Hawkman assemble a team of veterans who were more experienced than the rookies, Cyclone and Atom Smasher? Cyclone and Atom Smasher were like some rookie dance extras who were promoted by their managers due to a lack of manpower. This was the best chance to introduce Gardner Fox’s most iconic JSA team to fight against Black Adam. Only Hawkman and Doctor Fate appeared.
Black Adam heavily suffers from a below-par direction. There is not a single shot that builds in the audience with some excellent cinematic impact.
There is one shot where Black Adam’s son dies. Instead of investing one solid screen minute in Dwayne as the father of the dead son, the director flew him away with rage.
Amon’s uninspiring speech in such a low voice pitch to unite Kahndaq people to fight, skating to mom and leading the band of Kahndaq people furiously marching the street was so cheesy, so cringy, and so mainstream Bollywood. Another irritation is the unstoppable background score and which is too unimpressive. It kept playing on our ears and torturing us.
Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam reminds me of Dwayne Johnson but not Black Adam. His acting is very restricted and doesn’t bother to test his limits. There is so much tragedy in his story but Dwayne’s performance is nowhere flexible.
The story had potential but badly lacked direction. Black Adam is like a Bollywood film with a gigantic budget. It is a visual spectacle and popcorn-grabbing entertainer. But for the superhero genre, Black Adam is just another disappointment in the DC Extended Universe.
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Dr. Nate Daniels is a father of two daughters and is recently widowed. The eldest daughter reasons him for her death as she developed cancer immediately after her parent’s separation.
In order to emotionally reconnect with his daughters, Dr. Nate Daniels takes them on vacation to Africa where their mother grew up. Their family friend and wildlife biologist, Martin Battles, assists them in this wildlife journey.
But one shocking day, an injured lion that survived being the victim of the poachers, attacks them and thus begins their attempt at survival of a lifetime.
Beast is an action-thriller that was shot in South Africa and completed in ten weeks. The film’s biggest attraction is British superstar Idris Elba who plays Dr. Nate Daniels.
For the audience who are interested in watching a film based on wildlife survival, fiction or non-fiction, they basically are cognizant of the expectations from the screenwriting. If any of us watch such a film where the main characters are stuck in a compromised situation, we know that they will survive and overcome the unthinkable.
So where does the film stands in captivating the interest of the audience? I will give my fair share of developing zeal to invest my 90 minutes in a film that had Idris Elba fighting a lion.
The writing of this film in the first half convincingly develops the plot. And when the horror lodges to their heavy shock, the writing becomes exuberant.
The audience will build adrenaline when the family starts believing that something is terribly wrong. The element of intensity in this film is outstanding.
A flash of technical brilliance is a must to give a thrill to the audience. Beast offers to its audience excellent sound, an impactful music score by Steven Price, and an incredible design of dead bodies and injuries, followed by superb physical and especially facial performances by all four main characters, particularly the daughters. All these pluses are blended in some fabulous one-shot scenes, a quality of presentation that I wasn’t really expecting.
I feel the whole aesthetics of Beast from such an astounding first half loses that brink of establishing an equally promising continuity.
The pace of the film drops, the screenwriting of survival yet again enters into that Jurassic Park territory, things become obvious, and no further surprises are left to endure.
And some portions of the writing raise question marks throughout the film. How come the lion does not attack Martin Battles before running toward the family? Where were the alligators at night when Dr. Nate Daniels walks in the pond? Seriously, that is the time when the gators are active or perhaps hyperactive. Dr. Nate Daniels catching a snake looked pretty off, and so was the lion surviving the car explosion.
Where the pluses level on minuses, here I am observing a bigger concern throughout the film – the case of an injured lion. The pride is obviously hurt but more than that, the lion escaped being hunted by the poachers.
From that arc, from that angle, the lion was actually trying to survive by killing not even humans but animals too. Because the lion lost faith in everything when it was attacked. The lion senses every single nature installed on earth as its enemy and the only way to survive is by killing the others so that the lion lives without any chance of threat.
It is a tragic case for an animal. Despite being the villain of the story, the lion wasn’t really a villain. The humans started this. Had the film not dramatized that opening sequence, the lion would have always been understood as evil.
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Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell is recalled to Top Gun for a mission where instead of being a fighter pilot, he has to train the Top Gun graduates. While returning to Top Gun, Maverick’s emotional phase meets new parallels, he reunites with his former girlfriend and faces his best buddy Nick ‘Goose’ Bradshaw‘s son Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw who is infuriated for genuine reasons. More than that, Maverick is still heartbroken by Rooster’s demise.
It is a crazy theory that one of the most iconic, memorable, and beloved films of all-time, Top Gun, can be thought to fetch a sequel after crossing three decades with the same poster boy and results in the legacy of the work meeting new heights. Top Gun: Maverick is unarguably the most ideal sequel one can dream of for their favorite film. This film exceeds all the expectations. It is a groundbreaking success and in my opinion, a cinematic masterpiece dramatizing aviation. You watch such incredible flying sequences and your eyeballs dare not to locomote for a microsecond.
Tom Cruise at 60 shows no signs of slowing down. He along with Top Gun graduates who are young pilots learned to fly fighter jets. They all were put through extensive three-month training to avoid air sickness. While shooting the scenes, the cast was sitting in the fighter jets behind the military pilots. And obviously, they didn’t get to sit straight in F/A-18. They had to go through Cessna 172, then Extra EA-300, then L-39, and eventually F/A-18 when the cast had built a strong ‘G tolerance‘. The young cast can exert that physical pressure but someone at 60 has to be a metahuman. Tom Cruise cruises his life towards extraordinary bounds. This is exactly why Tom Cruise is globally respected and recognized as a true superstar.
One of the most distinguished aspects of the old Top Gun film was the rivalry between Maverick and Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky. With the new film moving in a different direction, it was a blessing to see Val Kilmer somehow reprising his role and face Maverick for that one memorable scene. Writing off the Iceman character from the franchise once and for all was the right idea.
Miles Teller as Goose’s son Rooster was the perfect choice who facially reminds us of Anthony Edwards as Goose in the old film. This character was added with the burden of the emotional tragedy that became a complaint towards Maverick especially when the latter wasted a few years of the former’s career. Rooster’s significance to Maverick is so much Donnie Creed to Rocky Balboa.
The writing of this film never disappointed. I liked the pressing about Maverick’s character that despite old age, he wanted to fly and fight. Because this is what he meant to do. He is not a teacher but a naval aviator, a fighter pilot. His repeated insubordination didn’t let him grow further. Or maybe he chose to refuse to obey orders so that he could remain at his post for the love of flying.
The most impressive part of the writing that was followed from the old film is the introduction of the old flame, Penny played by Jennifer Connelly. This character was mentioned twice in the old film but was never shown who she was. Thirty-six years later, we all actually happen to watch this girl coming back into Maverick’s life, and is so exciting. Not sure why Kelly McGillis was not brought back. Could have been equally exciting to see her again meeting Maverick at some point in the film.
With the passing of thirty-six years between the two films, I also liked the recognition of moving ahead from manned aircraft to remote-controlled drones as noticed in the first scene. In order to avoid the shutting of Mav’s scramjet program, he flies the prototype to Mach 10 after which Rear Admiral Hammer Cain warns Maverick that the era of crewed fighter aircraft will soon end.
There was one thing I felt missing in the flying sequences in the old film – a birdstrike. This happened here and I am glad the makers showed the consequences of such tragic incidents. There were many breathtaking flying sequences but the one that screamed my soul was when the team struggles to escape from the SAMs after destroying the Uranium enrichment plant.
I was not convinced by a few factors in the screenplay. For example, the new rivalry between Rooster and Hangman was not detailed as Ice and Mav and therefore looked forced to remind us of the old rivalry. The character of Rooster is not much significance to the film as it should be for a strong supporting role. Mav takes command of the story in its entirety that Rooster looks like filling the minutes. The writing of Rooster lacked the strength to build its own importance in front of Maverick. The way Mav and Rooster stole F-14 from the destroyed air base looked like the writer was running out of ideas. It looked flat to me.
Top Gun: Maverick, in addition to the points I praised above, is the winner in the sound department as well as cinematography and direction. The writing of the film showed that the writers were faithful to the Top Gun legacy and therefore, gifted a respectable and very dedicated sequel to the audience.