Ridley Scott made the original Blade Runner back in 1982, loosely based on Philip K Dick’s novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, taking as many creative liberties as he could to give us the influential masterpiece it is today. It was also a decade which saw the rise of many unique cinematic visionaries, and Hollywood was not quite the franchise-churning machine it is today. While it is difficult to find modern visionaries in the rubble of superhero films and nostalgic sequels, there is one I have been keenly following for a while – Denis Villeneuve. Standing miles ahead of his peers with his previous films like Prisoners, Sicario and last year’s Arrival, he has just ventured into sequel territory (which usually means creative death), but comes out all guns blazing, with Blade Runner 2049. Unfortunately, Blade Runner does not enjoy a pop culture fan following à la Star Wars and Ghostbusters, a compromise it made when it opted for thematic depth over blockbuster entertainment. This was made evident when I saw that I was one of only 10 people at the screening, and the pitiful box office response. Continue reading →
The reason many classic horror films fail to chill audiences today is the fact that the scariest ones of the time are rooted in the mindset of the people of that time. If you look back at the history of the horror genre, both in films as well as literature, patterns start to develop. Now while this is clearly because of the trend that got people in the cinema seats, there is a deeper reason for the popularity of each variant of fear. The popular fear of alien invaders in the films of the ‘50s can be traced to the fear of the American society which was constantly under the threat of foreign invasion, threatening their all-American values. The ‘60s and ‘70s saw an American population glued to their televisions which shocked them with stories of psychopaths and mass murderers such as Ted Bundy, and Hollywood responded with movies such as Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, realizing and heightening their fears. Get Out is the debut film by Jordan Peele, of Key & Peele fame, who subverts his usually comedic type for a far darker story that is too realistic for the times we live in. Continue reading →
It seems that the events of 2016 have birthed a new generation of cynics, and at the turn of the new year, all one can hear around are people crying over the horrible year that has passed. However, being one who prefers to count gifts over curses, I consider ourselves blessed to have received a stellar list of films, taking various different genres to stranger waters, and realizing the full potential of some others. Now while the movies that big franchises and studios have churned out were more in the form of financial investments than works of art, 2016 has witnessed masterpieces from global filmmakers and the independent categories. The following is the list of films that I think made the most of their run-time this year, and deserve to be seen by one and all. (This year, I’ve added suggestions of old movies similar in some way to each film on this list, so the doubtful ones can decide what to watch.) Continue reading →
‘Language is the cornerstone of our civilization.’
So begins the book written by Dr. Louise Banks, the protagonist of the latest film from Denis Villenueve, who has been making his mark felt in the world of cinema with a string of thought-provoking films including Prisoners, Sicario and Enemy. Arrival is based on a short novel by Ted Chiang, titled ‘Story of your Life’, which seems a more appropriate name for this all-encompassing film than the uninspired ‘Arrival’, which seems to suggest little more than an invasion. Taking on heavy themes of bridging languages, colonisation and questions that hit the core of our existence and our perceptions of reality, this latest child of the science fiction genre carries them confidently and with the seriousness they deserve, all the while having us hooked to a plot that gets more interesting with each passing second. Continue reading →
The X Men have been through a lot over the past two decades, and I don’t mean just the missions the actual students at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters have been on. Following several missteps in the bloated The Last Stand and the universally panned Origins: Wolverine, Matthew Vaughn breathed fresh life into the mutant saga with First Class, and after Bryan Singer came back on board to wipe the slate clean with Days of Future Past, it seemed as though the directions available for the third film in the new series to take were boundless. Unfortunately, Singer’s Apocalypse is a cluttered superhero movie that tries to fit way too many plotlines into what could have been an interesting discussion on its opening lines – a mutant so overpowered that it thinks itself a god – making it feel rushed and thrown together despite its long runtime. The franchise that pretty much kicked off the current age of superhero films seems now to be choking on the clichés it helped make popular, making its audience feel the exhaustion of the genre, like no other film before it. Continue reading →
Ben Affleck is Batman, but the direction is bad, man.
What qualifies good entertainment? Is it the progressive explosion of gorgeous images and sounds that sows the seeds for future excitement, or is it a coherently crafted story that does not lose focus on its ideal? If the former were true, then Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice would be the most entertaining movie of all time. But it isn’t: it’s why Interstellar wasn’t as good as it could have been, and why the pretty straight-forward Superman: the Movie still holds up today. However, when the film in question has superheroes running around in it; the truth lies somewhere in between: what hits the spot is a strong central story, elevated by the display of intriguing visuals and treats. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is as heavy as it sounds, with every beat a battle cry and almost every image paying homage to iconic panels from the comics. Despite the many cool implications and references that make the prospect of the DC Universe exciting, the sloppy direction is unable to contain all the storylines into a single cohesive piece. Continue reading →