REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

CAST

Andrew Garfield (The Social Network)
Emma Stone (Birdman)
Rhys Ifans (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Irrfan Khan (Jurassic World)
Campbell Scott (Royal Pains)
Embeth Davidtz (Army of Darkness)
Chris Zylka (The Secret Circle)
C. Thomas Howell (E.T.)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Jennifer Lyons (That 70s Show)
Michael Massee (Flashforward)
Zoey Deutch (Ringer)

A young Peter Parker discovers his father Richard Parker’s study has been burgled. Peter’s parents gather hidden documents and take Peter to the home of his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, then mysteriously depart.Years later, a teenaged Peter attends Midtown Science High School, where he is bullied by Flash Thompson and has caught the eye of Gwen Stacy. At home, Peter finds his father’s papers and learns his father worked with fellow scientist Dr. Curt Connors at Oscorp. Sneaking into Oscorp, Peter enters a lab where a “biocable” is under development from genetically modified spiders, one of which bites him. He later discovers he has developed spider-like abilities, such as sharp senses, reflexes and speed.After studying Richard’s papers, Peter visits the one-armed Connors, reveals he is Richard’s son and gives Connors his father’s “decay rate algorithm”, the missing piece in Connors’ experiments on regenerating limbs. Connors is being pressed by his superior, Dr. Ratha, to devise a cure for the dying (but unseen) head of Oscorp, Norman Osborn. In school, Peter gets into trouble after a basketball challenge with Flash in which Peter accidentally shatters the backboard glass. His uncle changes work shifts to meet with the principal and asks Peter to walk May home for him that night. Peter forgets to do so, distracted while at Oscorp helping Connors regenerate the limb of a laboratory mouse. At home, he and Ben argue and Peter leaves. At a nearby deli, a cashier refuses to let Peter buy milk when Peter is two cents short; when a thief suddenly raids the store, Peter indifferently observes. While searching for Peter, Ben attempts to stop the thief and is killed. The thief escapes as Peter finds Ben dead on the sidewalk.Afterward, Peter uses his new abilities to hunt criminals matching the killer’s description. After a fall lands him inside an abandoned gym, a luchador-wrestling poster inspires him to create a mask to hide his identity. He adds a spandex suit and builds mechanical devices to attach to his wrists to shoot a biocable “web”. Later, at dinner with Gwen’s family, he has a tense conversation with her father, police captain George Stacy, over the new masked vigilante’s motives. After dinner, Peter reveals his identity to Gwen and they kiss.After seeing success with the mouse using lizard DNA, Ratha demands Connors begin human trials immediately. Connors refuses to rush the drug-testing procedure and put innocent people at risk. Ratha fires Connors and decides to test Connors’ serum at a Veterans Administration hospital under the guise of a flu shot. In an act of desperation, Connors tries the formula on himself. After passing out, he awakens to find his missing arm has regenerated. Discovering that Ratha is on his way to the VA hospital, Connors, whose skin is turning green and scaly, goes to intercept him. By the time he gets to the Williamsburg Bridge, Connors has become a violent hybrid of lizard and man, tossing cars, including Ratha’s, over the side. Peter, now calling himself Spider-Man, snatches each falling car with his web-lines.Spider-Man suspects Connors is the Lizard and unsuccessfully confronts the creature in the sewers. The Lizard learns Spider-Man’s real identity via the name on an abandoned camera and follows Peter to school, where they fight. Police start a manhunt for both Spider-Man and the Lizard. Captain Stacy discovers that Spider-Man is really Peter. The Lizard plans to make all humans lizard-like by releasing a chemical cloud from Oscorp’s tower, to eliminate the weaknesses he believes plague humanity. Spider-Man eventually disperses an antidote cloud instead, restoring Connors and earlier victims to normal, but not before the Lizard mortally wounds Captain Stacy. Before his death, Captain Stacy requests Peter avoid Gwen, in order to keep her safe. Peter initially does so, but later at school suggests to Gwen he may see her after all. In a mid-credits scene, Connors, in a prison cell, speaks with a man in the shadows who asks if Peter knows the truth about his father. Connors replies, “No”, and demands Peter to be left alone before the man disappears.I began watching The Amazing Spider-Man with muted expectations, and without anticipation. I walked out of my experience feeling as though the film was actually good not amazing.I think this franchise was too soon for a reboot.

 

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REVIEW: LIFE OF PI

CAST

Suraj Sharma  (The Hungry)
Irrfan Khan (Jurassic World)
Rafe Spall (Prometheus)
Tabu (Haider)
Adil Hussain (Tigers)
Gérard Depardieu (La Vie En Rose)

In Canada, novelist Yann Martel meets Pi Patel, who has been told that Pi’s life story would be a good subject for a book. Pi tells his story to Yann:Pi’s father names him Piscine Molitor after the swimming pool in France. In secondary school in Pondicherry, he adopts the name “Pi” (the Greek letter, π) to avoid the sound-alike nickname “Pissing Patel”. He is raised Hindu family with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, but at 12 years old, is introduced to Christianity and then Islam, and decides to follow all three religions as he “just wants to love God”. His mother supports his desire to grow, but his father, a rationalist, tries to convert him. Pi’s family owns a zoo, and Pi takes interest in the animals, especially a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. After Pi gets dangerously close to Richard Parker, his father forces him to witness the tiger killing a goat. When Pi is 16, his father announces that they must move to Canada, where he intends to settle and sell the animals. The family books passage with the animals on a Japanese freighter. During a storm, the ship founders while Pi is on deck. He tries to find his family, but a member of the crew throws him into a lifeboat. A freed zebra jumps onto the boat with him, breaking its leg as it lands. The ship is submerged into the Mariana Trench with the crew and his family. Pi sees what appears to be a survivor, but it turns out to be Richard Parker, which evades his efforts to keep him out of the boat.

After the storm, Pi awakens in the lifeboat with the zebra, and is shortly joined by a surviving orangutan. A spotted hyena emerges from a tarpaulin covering half of the lifeboat and snaps at Pi, forcing him to retreat to the end of the boat. It kills the zebra and later the orangutan. Richard Parker emerges from under the tarpaulin, killing the hyena and attempting to kill Pi, before retreating back to cover for several days. Pi fashions a small tethered raft from flotation vests which he retreats to for safety from Richard Parker. Despite his moral code against killing, he begins fishing, enabling him to sustain the tiger as well. When the tiger jumps into the sea to hunt for fish, Pi considers letting him drown, but ultimately helps him back into the boat. One night, a humpback whale breaches near the boat, destroying the raft and its supplies. Pi trains Richard Parker to accept him in the boat, and realizes that caring for the tiger is also keeping himself alive.
Weeks later they encounter a floating island of interconnected trees. It is a lush jungle of edible plants, fresh water pools and a large population of meerkats, enabling Pi and Richard Parker to eat and drink freely and regain strength. At night, the island transforms into a hostile environment. Richard Parker retreats to the lifeboat while Pi and the meerkats sleep in the trees; the water pools turn acidic, digesting the fish in them. Pi deduces that the island is carnivorous after finding a human tooth embedded in a flower. Pi and Richard Parker leave the island, and eventually reach the coast of Mexico. Pi is saddened that Richard Parker does not acknowledge him before disappearing into the jungle. He is rescued and brought to a hospital. Insurance agents for the Japanese freighter company interview him, but do not believe his story and ask what “really” happened. He tells a different story, in which the animals are replaced by human survivors of the shipwreck: his mother for the orangutan, an amiable sailor for the zebra, and the ship’s brutish cook for the hyena. In this story, Pi kills the cook and feeds on his flesh until he reaches Mexico. The insurance agents are not satisfied with this story either, but they leave without questioning Pi further.Yann recognizes the parallels between the two stories, noting that in the second one, Pi fills the role of the tiger. Pi asks which story the writer prefers, and Yann chooses the first, to which Pi replies, “and so it goes with God”. Glancing at a copy of the insurance report, Yann sees that the agents also chose the first story.It’s an incredible film experience.

REVIEW: SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

CAST

Dev Patel (Chappie)
Freida Pinto (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Madhur Mittal (Treasure Island)
Anil Kapoor (Race 2)
Irrfan Khan (Jurassic world)

18-year-old Jamal Malik, an Indian Muslim from the Juhu slum, is a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and is one question away from the grand prize. However, before the ₹20 million (US$300,000) question, he is detained and tortured by the police, who suspect him of cheating because of the impossibility of a simple “slumdog” with very little education knowing all the answers. Jamal recounts, through flashbacks, the incidents in his life which provided him with each answer.

Jamal’s flashbacks begin with his managing, at age five, to obtain the autograph of Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, which his brother Salim then sells, followed immediately by the death of his mother during the Bombay riots. As they flee the riot, they meet Latika, a girl from their slum. Salim is reluctant to take her in, but Jamal suggests that she could be the “third musketeer”, a character from the Alexandre Dumas novel The Three Musketeers (which they had been studying—albeit not very diligently—in school), whose name they do not know. The three are found by Maman—a gangster who tricks and then trains street children into becoming beggars. When Salim discovers Maman is blinding the children in order to make them more effective beggars, he flees with Jamal and Latika to a departing train.Latika fails to board the train as Salim purposefully lets go of her hand, thus resulting in her being recaptured by Maman. Over the next few years, Salim and Jamal make a living travelling on top of trains, selling goods, picking pockets, working as dish washers, and pretending to be tour guides at the Taj Mahal, where they also steal people’s shoes. At Jamal’s insistence, they return to Mumbai to find Latika, discovering that she is being raised by Maman to be a prostitute, to fetch him soon a high price and as a virgin. The brothers rescue her, and while escaping Maman they shoot him to death. Salim then manages to get a job with Javed—Maman’s rival crime lord. Back at their room, Salim orders Jamal to leave him and Latika alone. When Jamal refuses, Salim draws a gun on him, whereas Latika persuades Jamal to obey his brother and go away.
Years later, Jamal, now a tea-boy in an Indian call centre, searches the centre’s database for Salim and Latika. He fails in finding Latika, while succeeding in finding Salim, now a high-ranking lieutenant in Javed’s crime organisation. Jamal reproaches Salim, who then pleads for forgiveness, and offers him to stay in his luxurious apartment. Jamal later bluffs his way into Javed’s residence to reunite with Latika but as he professes his love for her, Latika asks him to forget about her. Jamal nevertheless promises to wait for her every day at five o’clock at the VT station. Latika attempts to meet him there, but is recaptured by Javed’s men, led by Salim, and once Javed moves to another house, outside Mumbai, the two again lose contact. Jamal becomes a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, knowing that she watches the show regularly. Much to the consternation of Prem Kumar, the show’s host, Jamal becomes a wonder across India. He uses the 50/50 lifeline on the penultimate question and during the following break, whilst in the men’s room, Kumar tries to fail Jamal, feeding him with a wrong answer, yet Jamal chooses the other one, which turns out to be the correct answer.
Assuming Jamal is cheating, the police are involved. After an initial beating up, the police inspector listens to Jamal’s explanation of how he reached each answer. Finding all of them “bizarrely plausible”, he allows him back to the show. At Javed’s safehouse, Latika sees Jamal on the news and Salim, in an effort to make amends for his past behaviour, gives Latika his mobile phone and car keys, and asks her to forgive him and to go to Jamal. Latika is reluctant out of fear of Javed, but agrees and escapes. Salim fills a bathtub with money and sits in it, awaiting for Javed and his men as they realise that he let Latika free. Jamal’s final question is the name of the third musketeer in The Three Musketeers, which he never learned.Jamal uses his “Phone-A-Friend” lifeline to call Salim’s cell, as it is the only phone number he knows. Latika answers the phone, and, while she does not know the answer, tells Jamal that she is safe. Relieved, Jamal randomly picks Aramis, the right answer, and wins the grand prize. Javed hears Latika on the show and realises that Salim has betrayed him. He and his men break down the bathroom door but Salim kills Javed before he is shot, gasping, “God is great.” Jamal and Latika meet on the platform at the railway station; they kiss, and they dance energetically to the song “Jai Ho”.This is an extraordinary film. From the original concept of the novel on which it is based (Q&A by Vikas Swarup), the screenplay by Simon Beaufoy (Full Monty) but especially the masterful creation and direction of the film by Danny Boyle. From the opening moments until the final scene,you will be fully engaged.