Tag Archives: Tobey Maguire

Film Review: Babylon (2022)


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.


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.


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.


Tobey Maguire plays James McKay in Babylon from Paramount Pictures.

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.

RATING: 6.5/10



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Film Review: Spider-Man No Way Home (2021)

After Peter‘s identity is revealed and is framed for the drone attack and Mysterio‘s death, Peter struggles to escape from the backlashes and overcome the damage of his being the main reason behind terrorizing the city. When he seeks help from Strange, he casts a spell for good. But the spell is corrupted due to Peter’s repeated interference that leads to opening doors for people from other universes.

I think it was a fantastic plot and the continuity of the never-ending ever-growing universe has met strong parallels. The concept of multiverses will go further wide that is certain to happen in Doctor Strange’s upcoming sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But my reason for the plot being really impressive has to do with the characterization of New York’s friendly neighbor. Whatever happened to New York in this film was because Peter couldn’t tolerate the revelation of his identity. The consequences were strong. But Peter made the mess by corrupting Strange’s spell. After all, Peter is a boy, he is not mature. If you notice, he has always needed support from the others in this universe, majorly from Tony Stark. He was Peter’s godfather and after all the support Peter got, Tony died and re-orphaned him. Peter also got the support of Nick Fury and took Mysterio as a crime-fighting partner. In this film, Murdock saved his ass from the charges.

If Peter was mature, he would have faced the consequences after the revelation. He would have never come to Sanctum Sanctorium. Strange further squeezed Peter’s childishness when he couldn’t believe that he didn’t even ‘convince them’ and reached for his help without making an effort. It was a very funny scene and I hit my palm on my forehead but simultaneously that is what Peter Parker in a human was best picturized all this time. After this film, there is no argument about who the best spidey is. Tom Holland‘s Spider-Man is the most ideal portrayal of all time.

At the same time, I was also met with surprises for the wrong reasons. One critical angle that is downplayed is Doctor Strange. Being the new leader of this universe and literally the one who holds the fate of the world by sorcery, how can he ever think of brainwashing the entire world just to make people forget that Peter is Spidey? How come Strange didn’t believe in the critical consequences of what he was attempting? I know it was too funny that he was wandering in the Grand Canyon for half a day. But why? How come he doesn’t have the power to open a portal and return? I don’t have knowledge if that ancient relic was the only support Strange had.

Peter escaping from charges at the start had zero potential to give a dark outcome and face trials and wait for the answers of his non-committed crimes. Director Jon Watts could have given us a gripping segment of his worst phase with all doors closing to his heroism. But all those moments were skipped with Murdock’s one call and Peter all of a sudden goes clean. Murdock’s character would have made more rounds instead of a cameo if we had that difficult phase for at least thirty minutes. All the hype that was built in the end credits of Spidey’s previous chapter met hardly ten minutes.

It was exciting to see all those major villains of the previous Spidey films but their characters and villainous elements were toned down. They looked humble and generous to respond to Spidey and agree for help. Those bad guys were all together and could have easily invaded the city. But Peter taking them to his home looked extremely flat and non-sensical. How can Peter be that dumb and not understand that believing your enemies to help you is straight foolishness? He believed his instincts so much that he decided to snatch the relic from Strange and help the villains?

With the arrival of both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield as the Spideys of the other universes, the entertainment doubled and also gave us the chance to see them together. I liked the onscreen chemistry that was built between the three. The screenwriting on them was wonderful and heart-touching. It was absolutely fun to watch them trying to understand each other. What an exciting moment that was when Garfield’s Spider-Man saves MJ.

No Way Home has plot issues but also has one of the best continuities of the universe. The film carries too much forced-comedy that tears the thick lines of the writing in the first half but the film also gave us the moments that were essential to make a superhero film genuine like Peter’s character development that I wrote in length above, the chemistry of three Spideys, Aunt May‘s death, Peter-MJ final moments at Liberty and then in the shop.

What is Tom’s Peter’s future in MCU now? There is every possibility that Tom’s Peter will return in the future. If Tobey at 46 and Garfield at 38 can return with an idea, so can Tom who is just 25. Kevin Feige should put a brake on this Peter for some years and introduce Miles Morales. Miles will be heavily inspired by Peter’s heroics and become like him just like Clint‘s inspiration on Kate in Hawkeye. I will ask for Miles’ introduction in a separate Disney+ show where Tom can appear for a minor supporting role.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is a superb entertainer and has moved in the right direction.

Ratings: 8.3/10