Series Premier Review: Gotham is compelling even without Batman!

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Make a TV series about Batman sans Batman and there will still be a plethora of fans who will fantasize about it. This year’s most anticipated series Fox’s Gotham premiered this fall. Created by The Mentalist‘s Bruno Heller, Gotham is a pretext for celebrating Batman. It is like the Transformers sequels that you will watch no matter what you hear about them.

The pilot is more of an extended teaser to a lot of characters. Just like Christopher Nolan had his Batman Begins in his The Dark Knight trilogy, Gotham will have its own Riddler Rocks, Ivy’s Inception etc. The pilot starts with a little Seline Kyle’s Catwoman jumping rooftops to end up witnessing the murders of mugged Thomas and Martha Wayne alongside Bruce Wayne. The series has new joinee James Gorden as its protagonist played by Ben McKenzie. Jim is paired with Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) who is one of the many contacts of crime lord Carmine Falcone (John Doman) in the police department. Jim and Harvey are assigned to the Wayne murders, which Harvey is reluctant to take but Jim ends up promising justice to the bereaved child. Jada Pinkett Smith plays Fish Mooney, a mob leader, conspiring to overthrow her boss Falcone. Sean Pertwee is the new Alfred Pennyworth and is way different than that of Michael Caine. Jim is engaged to Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) although nothing substantial is revealed about their relationship.

The episode gives feelers of the upcoming Batman villains. A cherubic introvert girl Ivy is heartbroken when her father is used as bait for the Wayne murders by the GPD. Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) is a forensic experts having a knack of talking in riddles. The character who steals the episode is Oswald Cobblepot. Played by Robin Lord Taylor, Oswald is Mooney’s minion and is mocked as “Penguin” for his appearance. Penguin can be Gotham’s Joker as Robin plays him as if he was born for it. Gotham is an attractive idea but what keeps us wondering is how these characters will form a commendable story without the capped  crusader.

Review: The Maze Runner is a dazzling addition to the coveted young adult genre

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Everyone postulated that the fate of the adaptation of James Dashner’s young adult hit book The Maze Runner will not be a merry one. But the film emerges as a stunning surprise unlike the herd of YA tryouts since Twilight and The Hunger Games. The Maze Runner springs an anomaly because of it’s focus on the don’ts rather than the do’s of YA adaptations.

The Maze Runner starts downright with a memory-less Dylan O’Brien heading up in a cage into a grassy arena called the Glade led by Alby (Aml Ameen). The Glade is surrounded on all sides by 100 feet tall walls concealing the former in the center of a giant maze. The walls of the Glade are open throughout the day for the boyland to explore the ever-changing maze. During the night the walls remain closed but the maze is raided by bio-mechanical creatures called Grievers who sting the Gladers to death. The Glade is a structured system with rules for its survival consisting of Runners to navigate the maze, Builders, Medics and Chefs. Thomas Brodie-Sangster (of Game of Thrones fame) plays Newt, Alby’s substitute, and Blake Cooper plays the youngest Glader and brings out the comic moments in the film. Will Poulter (We’re the Millers) plays dominant bully Gally. Thomas (Dylan O’Brien)  remembers only his name in a day just like every other boy. Things go awry when Thomas goes rogue breaking every code of the Glade and manages to survive a night inside the maze. Suddenly a sex ratio springs with a advent of a girl Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) who is the last person to be sent to the Glade. Thomas’ antics lead to guys getting stung in the day and the doors remaining ajar in the night for the invasion of Grievers, leaving them with no choice but to escape through the maze.

First-time director Wes Ball, previously just a visual effects expert, was handed reins of this films based on an 8-minute CGI fim. Ball pulls off a more than commendable job with a $34 million budget. He keeps character development at bay and keeps the plot ticking, albeit he does take his sweet time in showing us the maze. The visual effects are laudable. The screenplay is watertight knowing its direction to climax which has its own climax. Ball also extracts supreme performances from every young actor. The Maze Runner is a must watch for the young adult genre and is easily comparable to The Hunger Games.

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Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones is the resurgence of its kind not to be missed!

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Crime is the most realistic a genre can get. If you like the ongoing obsession called True Detective, just dump this review and run to a theater to watch the Scott Frank’s deceitful craft A Walk Among the Tombstones, based upon Lawrence Block’s 1992 novel of the same title. Liam Neeson plays illegal private detective Matthew Scudder assigned a reluctant case of a barbarous gay couple who kidnap a drug trafficker Kenny Kristo’s beautiful wife. Kenny pays the ransom only to be served with wrapped severed body parts of his wife, deeming the killers nothing less than psychos who turn out to serial.

Tombstones is unlike Taken and the stint of films Neeson had after that. He is a solo protagonist but not the predictable character that will end the film with all being well. The best part is that the serial murders have nothing to do with Scudder’s personal life. He is never the target. He won’t directly care about his unavoidable teen sidekick TJ (Brian ‘Astro’ Bradley), but he is resourceful when it comes to work sans his gun. The film gives a rush of Taken in a telephone conversation involving Scudder dominating the villain, but that’s all. Scudder is a serious persona with a wry humor and his chemistry with TJ is amusing.

Writer-director Scott Frank is a reviver for this desperately needed cinema. He derives influences from Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas and Steven Splielberg’s Munich for this one. Tombstones hardly wavers from its prime plot. There is no scene singly specifying any personal aspect of any character, not even that of the serial killers. He has kept the film gory in a passive manner instead of visual ranting. Also you never what you might be shown next. The film has brilliant performances from other lesser known actors. The depiction of Brooklyn in 1999 is artistic. The film comes off more as a surprise from Neeson’s side. Let’s just hope this is a start to a film series!

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Trailer Review: Shah Rukh Khan’s Happy New Year is royal and dramatic

The most awaited trailer of Bollywood is out. Every Shah Rukh Khan fan awaits his annual phenomenon. No sooner did Chennai Express become a blockbuster than we started anticipating his next. Farah Khan created her own cinema with SRK in Main Hoon Naa(2004) and took it to its epitome with Om Shanti Om(2007). Why do Farah and King Khan find themselves on the same page? Drama! Drama! Drama! Farah makes it so much dramatic. That’s the only thing literally separating her from Rohit Shetty. Otherwise both go high on action, songs and radiance.

The film looks totally ostentatious. The makers have been smart to use the New Year celebrations’ visuals of Dubai. Had they done it by themselves it would have blown the budgets of Bollywood. The story seems unmistakably predictable, which people take out the most on SRK. Six losers are participants in a World Dance Competition only to rob diamonds (no guesses. We are stealing diamonds since decades).Write about Shah Rukh and you really forget the supporting cast better known as fillers in his movies. Deepika Padukone is pretty as a Marathi dancer. I seriously don’t know what to write about Abhishek Bachchan. But I’m happy he is just doing (or getting) second fiddle roles. Boman Irani will have his moments. I wonder what will be Vivaan’s screen time. There is this non-orthodox antagonist played by Jackie Shroff.

What Farah states clearly in this trailer is that HNY is more of a musical. The trailer is embedded with teasers of three songs. There is this chorus of “Radhe Radhe” from a song which may have more to do with dramatic introductions. The second one which has words like “I’m feeling all right…. Non-sense ki night” is a funny track. The last song called Indiawaale might be the last song in the film and the grandest in it.

I always laugh at Aamir Khan for his constant efforts to outdo SRK as a better promoter, not questioning his acting. There is no actor, director, producer or some outsourced dude who can beat Shah Rukh at marketing. This Khan got Yash Raj Films to buy the worldwide rights at 125cr. He sold the satellite rights at 65cr and music rights at 12cr. That’s a total of Rs.202cr before its release. For the first has a trailer been launched on Whatsapp before Youtube. He now has his worldwide Slam tour which will spin even more millions of rupees by the time HNY hits the screens. Damn! He might go more than a total of 500cr after the release.

You can love him or hate him, but you cannot ignore Shah Rukh Khan. I have a feeling that Farah Khan is going to go the most dramatic Bollywood has ever gone with the Badshaah giving some serious life lessons in some scenes. First day first show this Diwali to watch todenge taale Indiawaale!

Review: Scarlett Johansson’s Lucy is a sleek, crazy and extravagent sci-fi

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We all fall for the seductive notion of some kind of superpower, especially if it’s just us in the world. That’s why it’s called superpower. Many writers have played and manipulated this idea with Transcendence and Limitless being the latest consequences. Luc Besson’s Lucy is a better culmination than atleast these two. The premise being that a human uses less than 10% of his brain.

Scarlett Johansson plays Lucy, a regular college girl with an obviously jerk boyfriend who forces her to deliver a briefcase having “documents”. Suddenly the jolly jerk is killed and Lucy is taken by a drug lord. The briefcase contains a blue drug which is the sci-fi element of the film. The drug is surgically inserted into her stomach and Lucy becomes the courier. But the ravenous minions molest her and beat her up. A recurrent of kicks on her stomach and the drug leaks into Lucy’s system, slating one of the most dramatic inceptions of superpower. Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) is small parallel character. Norman is the best expert on the brain but his theories are a mere speculation since no human has used 20 or 30 or 50 or 100% of his brain. Lucy contacts him and confronts that his theories are right. She has 24 hours before her body becomes incapable of handling her.

Luc Besson had to keep the critics at bay before writing this one. He has knowingly not cared much about the ambiguous existing scientific theories about the brain. But he manages a perfect equilibrium between theories and entertainment, purposely compromising on scientific details. Lucy knows telekinesis. She can control humans, a dozen of them in a second. She doesn’t feel pain. She can still remember the taste of her mother’s milk, change her physical structure. She can eventually travel in time.

The 90 minutes film is paced fast and is high on adrenaline action. Nobody knows what we can do by using 100% of our brain. So it’s better to dump the contradicting scientific theories and enjoy this fun ride with the beautiful lady.

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Top 10 dialogues of Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones Season 4

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He may be accused of killing the king, but Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister is definitely the king of the biggest TV show on earth. Firstly, the character itself is outstanding. Couple it with Dinklage’s portrayal of it and you reach nirvana. In the fourth season of Game of Thrones, Tyrion manages to pull off the monologue of television’s history. Be it belittling his own brother Jamie (his last friend) or pissing off Cersie and Shae in a single line, he does it with utmost brevity.

 1. Kill two birds with one stone:

“Watching your vicious bastard die gave me more relief than a thousand lying whores!” 

 2. On biased trial:

I will not give my life for Joffrey’s murder and I know I’ll get no justice here, so I will let the gods decide my fate. I demand a trial by combat.” 

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3. To Oberyn Martell on justice in King’s Landling:

“If you want justice, you’ve come to the wrong place.”

4. To Tywin Lannister in trial:

“I’m guilty of a far more monstrous crime. I’m guilty of being a dwarf.”

5. To Jamie on partiality:

“You’re the golden son. You can kill a king, lose a hand, f–k your own sister, you’ll always be the golden son.”

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6. On Joffrey’s murder:

“Say what you will of Cersei, she loves her children. She is the only one I’m certain had nothing to do with this murder, which makes it unique as King’s Landing murders go.”

7. To Bronn:

“Why are you sorry? Because you’re an evil bastard with no conscience and no heart? That’s what I liked about you in the first place.”

8. On Cousin Orson:

“Laughing at another person’s misery was the only thing that made me feel like everyone else.” 

9. On the laws of Gods:

“Trial by combat, deciding a man’s guilt or innocence in the eyes of the gods by having two other men hack each other to pieces. It tells you something about the gods.” 

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10. On the trail setup:

“I know the whole bloody country thinks I’m guilty. I know that one of my three judges has wished me dead more times than I can count and that judge is my father.”

Top 10 dialogues of Game of Thrones Season 4

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Peter Dinklage’s monologue in the episode The Laws of Gods and Men was his only appearance in the entire episode, but he stole the whole of it. The fourth season of Game of Thrones had an endless array of cheesy liners that left others on the screen dumbfounded. Though we had little of Lord Varys in this season, Little Finger elevated himself to higher diabolical standards. Tyrion Lannister remains the best (half)man with the best words.

1. “I did not do it. I did not kill Joffrey, but I wish that I had. Watching your vicious bastard die gave me more relief than a thousand lying whores!” – Tyrion Lannister

2. “I will not give my life for Joffrey’s murder and I know I’ll get no justice here, so I will let the gods decide my fate. I demand a trial by combat.” – Tyrion Lannister

3. “You’re the golden son. You can kill a king, lose a hand, f–k your own sister, you’ll always be the golden son.” – Tyrion Lannister

4. “In a better world, one where love can overcome strength and duty, you might have been my child. But we don’t live in that world. And you are more beautiful than she ever was.” – Petyr Baelish aka Little Finger

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5. “I will answer injustice with justice” – Daenerys Targaryen

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6. “Given the opportunity what do we do to those who’ve hurt the ones we love?” – Petyr Baelish aka Little Finger

7. “No one weeps for spiders or whores.” – Varys

8. “People die at their dinner tables. They die in their beds. They die squatting over their chamber pots. Everybody dies sooner or later. And don’t worry about your death. Worry about your life. Take charge of your life for as long as it lasts.” — Petyr Baelish aka Little Finger

9. “I will not become a page in someone else’s history book.” – Stannis Baratheon

 10. ” Elia Martell of Dorne, You raped her. You murdered her. You killed her children” – Oberyn Martell

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