Friday, September 5, 2014

2 Movie Reviews: The Giver & The Hundred-Foot Journey

Hi all!

Two movie reviews this time :)




Title: The Giver
Director: Phillip Noyce
Writers: Michael Mitnick (screenplay), Robert B. Weide (screenplay), Lois Lowry (book)
Release date: 22th of August 2014 (in Estonia)
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
Stars: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep

Summary:

In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the "real" world. 

Review:

Again, I haven’t read the book and I don’t think I would have, because dystopian is one of the genres that I’m really not fond of at all. But, again, sometimes it’s great that movie adaptions are being made, then I can still get the gist and essence of the book (when lucky) without having to spend considerably more time reading.

What I liked:

At first I thought this would be like any other dystopian book/movie out there, but while of course, there were many parts that were similar to others from the genre, this movie was somehow more gripping, the pain and struggle wasn’t so much physical, but more emotional and mental.

I though the black and white and color use in this movie was brilliant and so much more illustrative of the huge divide in how the people with and without the memories saw everything. Also, it showcased the changes in Jonas so vividly and your own view changed alongside him.

The scenes with the memory transfers were intense and revealing. They clearly demonstrated all the lost emotions, feelings, pain and beauty.

Jeff Bridges was absolutely awesome, he fit the role so perfectly – wise, weary and full of so much calm emotion. The parents of Jonas were an interesting contrast to each other as well, played nicely by Katie Holmes (strict and commanding) and Alexander Skarsgard (soft and subtle).

The ending was vague, but the intriguing kind of vague, I didn’t understand if it was reality or not and what would happen, in a sense it was a cliffhanger and also an end where there could be several ways to interpret the finale.

What I didn’t like:

I couldn’t connect with Jonas, he simply didn’t reach me. In comparison, the Giver’s struggle and issues were all so out in the open and touchable.

I didn’t so much enjoy Meryl Streep, because she came across too stiff or maybe that’s just what the character is supposed to be like. She was too mechanical, and it wasn’t her doing, but I couldn’t stand the hair, it looked so ugly on her! Yes, I'm superficial.

Also, they weren’t supposed to break the rules and to keep that in check was what the medication was for, but already in the first scenes the three basically are shown going against them. That was odd. And as with many other dystopian worlds, the regime is made to make people live in peace without violence, quarrels, wars, etc, but to uphold this, they use violence, kill, etc, so this is something that annoys me with many books/movies of this genre, because it's completely illogical and undermines the whole plot.

Overall:

I’ll be honest, I liked this movie more than The Hunger Games and Divergent, I guess due to the subtly of the plot and there not being constant action and fighting going on, everything wasn’t “in my face” – I can’t explain it better. It was an emotional, deeper and provided a lot more material for thought. For some reason I think the book lovers will be somewhat disappointed, but as someone with no expectations, I really liked the movie.

4 stars!







Title: The Hundred-Foot Journey
Director: Lasse Hallström
Writers: Steven Knight (screenplay), Richard C. Morais (book)
Release date: 22th of August 2014 (in Estonia)
Genre: Drama, Romance
Stars: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal

Summary:

The Kadam family leaves India for France where they open a restaurant directly across the road from Madame Mallory's Michelin-starred eatery.

Review:

I’m not a fan of spicy food, I get a runny nose, tears in my eyes and my tongue is “burnt” and I can’t taste anything properly for some time. I like my food simple with emphasis on the original taste, I don’t often even put salt or pepper on my food not to mention all sorts of spices. Indian, Chinese, etc food that rely heavily on spices, I’m not really fond of and avoid. Also, I don’t understand eating one radish with a cool layout and some specks of something else on the plate and it’s supposed to be an unforgettable experience for the taste. Maybe I just haven’t got anything that mind-blowing to eat or I just lack a refined taste for gourmet food and appreciating the art of food preparing. I admit, I’m quite ignorant with this topic and don’t even mind. What I’m trying to say with all this is that the food part of the move was interesting and all, but left me quite cold and indifferent. On the other side, the family ties, passion and talent for something, going after what you want, staying true to yourself, opening up to new things – those were the aspects that made me like the move. The food was just a means to an end. 

What I liked:

I loved the dad! He was fun, determined (read: stubborn) and so full of life. And, of course, Helen Mirren was wonderful as this tough shell/soft inside cold, strict and aristocratic restaurant owner. I especially loved when those two had scenes together, because humor was sure to follow.

The setting was lovely, the French countryside looks so picturesque, serene and gorgeous.

The was such contrast between the life and people in the little town and the newly arrived Indian family. They complemented each other where needed and clashed several times as well. For example, I agree that the loud music, especially a type I’m not used to hearing, can be extremely annoying, and you have to think about the wishes of the people around you as well when your actions might disturb others. So, turning it put to show "rebellious attitude" was extremely childish.

As I already stated above, this movie had so much more to offer under all the food that was thrown at the watcher: racial issues, competition amongst colleagues (who like each other romantically), changing your beliefs, etc. 

What I didn’t like:

The main character was incredibly dull, he came alive through the food preparing where he obviously had some serious skills at, but since that part wasn’t the highlight for me in this movie, then stripped of this, Hassan was a bland bloke. Also, he was too good to be realistic, I mean whatever he did or wherever he went he blew everyone away. At least he was cute looking!

I wasn’t too happy with the romance as well. It seemed forced and wasn’t developed nearly enough to come across natural. Then again the romance was just a side-story. But, I did think that the actress playing Marguerite was very beautiful in a forest-fairy-like way.

Overall:

I haven’t read the book and I really don’t think I would miss anything if I don’t, because obviously there will be a lot of talk on food which doesn’t excite me at all. Nevertheless, some books work well for movies and sometimes seeing the movie is enough to get the positive aspects of a book. This was a charming movie and I quite liked it.

4 stars!



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