So I haven't been able to make each review post individually but here's a look at some movies I saw in the past month.
Based on the book, The 3 Mistakes of My Life, by best-selling author Chetan Bhagat, this film doesn't faithfully follow it. However, it retains the feel and flow of the book which is about three friends in Ahmedabad, Gujarat who have aspirations to become something in their lives. The three boys are so different from one another: Omi (Amit Sadh) is defined by his family, Ishaan (Sushant Singh Rajput) is the has-been cricket prodigy, his shine dulled by not making the Indian national team and Govind (Raj Kumar) is the one with his head on his shoulders and the voice of reason. But they are friends throughout the thick and thin of it all, brothers for life! However, some real world events threaten their livelihood and the strong bonds of friendship which all comes to a head in an explosive climax. The 2001 earthquake on Republic Day shatters their dreams of expanding their business in an upcoming mall and the 2002 riots in Gujarat and their participation in it changes their lives irrevocably. Being Gujarati myself, I enjoyed the look and feel of early 2000s Ahmedabad in the production design and especially the language interspersed into the dialogues. It felt exactly how people living in Gujarat would speak not what screenwriters think they would say. The film is well-made and acted and has some nicely composed visuals. Great start to the year in Bollywood with Kai Po Che! Directed by Abhishek Kapoor (who also co-wrote the screenplay).
Bradley Cooper plays yet another frustrated novelist Rory Jansen who just can't get published in The Words. When he comes across the perfect manuscript in a valise purchased by his lovely and supportive wife Dora (Zoe Saldana), he finds his solution. Pass the manuscript as his own and no one will be the wiser. Except an old man (Jeremy Irons) shows up with the other half of the tale of the family in the book. What will Rory do now? The story contains a bit of a extra twist when the characters of Clayton (Dennis Quaid) and Daniella (Olivia Wilde) who are introduced early in the film but it begins to push it a bit once we delve into the flashback of the old man's past in France with his younger self played by Ben Barnes. It suddenly became all too predictable too fast. Directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal.
Zarafa is based on a true story of the Pasha of Egypt’s gift of a giraffe to the King of France to get some aid in their ongoing skirmish with Turkey. But before that, the film opens in the wilds of Africa, where young Maki is trying to escape the evil clutches of slave trader and comes upon a herd of giraffes and a young calf. The slave trader kills the young calf's mother and from thereon Maki decides it will be his responsibility to protect the calf no matter what. He meets Hassan whose job it is to take Zarafa (Arabic for giraffe) to France. Along the journey across the seas, mountains and villages, they come across some truly eccentric characters like the inventor Malaterre, a female pirate and pair of twin cows. I liked that this French animated film attempted to tell the tale of some not-so-glamorous parts of our past. It may be a bit scary and confusing for very young children as Maki and Zarafa are mistreated quite often. The semi happy ending tries to make up for it. Directed by Remi Bezancon and Jean-Christophe Lie.
You know the world does not have enough 10 year high school reunion films. This extremely likable film works so well because of its large and likable cast. You've seen most of them before, in other movies or on television show but in 10 Years, they manage to show yet another side of themselves. Especially in the case of Oscar Isaac (where did that voice come from?) in his character's arc of meeting up with his unrequited high school crush. The movie is not just about Channing Tatum (who also produces) and Rosario Dawson as former high school sweethearts, but mostly about the ensemble cast of Ari Graynor, Kate Mara, Chris Pratt, Max Minghella, Justin Long and Lynn Collins all of whom deliver solid performances. You might end up with an urge to ring up your high school friend after this to reminisce. Directed by Jamie Linden.
This was a true disappointment. When the premise of the movie is that Melissa McCarthy steals Jason Bateman's identity by maxing out all his credit cards and he decides to take matters into his own hands, one should hope it would be funny. Hope is the operative word here. The humor was tedious and out of nowhere the characters became sentimental. What happened to the comedy? There was none. For two actors who make me laugh so hard in their other projects, both McCarthy and Batemen never quite found their groove for this film. But I will admit that 'Sandy Bigelow Paterson' is a darned hilarious name for a character in a film. And it made me wish I could watch Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo instead. Yeah, that bad. Skip the film and go rent Bridesmaids or prepare to watch the first three seasons of Arrested Development instead. Directed by Seth Gordon.