The Father / Vakeel Saab / Godzilla vs. Kong – Capsule Reviews

“The Father (2020)”: Places us in the mind of someone losing reality

the  father 2020 review

I was stunned after watching “Still Alice (2014)” about Alzheimer’s disease; now I am lost in the mind of Anthony. The Father is the most realistic depiction of the disease. And the Oscar goes to…

“The Father (2020)” is adapted from Florian Zeller’s stage play by the same name. This is playwright Florian Zeller’s first feature directorial film. The film center’s Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), an ageing man, suffering from dementia. Anne (Olivia Colman), his daughter, does her best to look after him. As Anthony’s reality is distorted, he tries to make sense of the changing circumstances. Every now and again, he begins to forget his own daughter and doubt the ones caring for him.

Some movies are really hard to describe, whether it’s about masterpiece screenplay or perfect execution, like Satoshi Kon’s “Perfect Blue (1997)”, “In the Mood for Love (2000)”. It’s been over a week since I watched “The Father (2020),” and I still can’t stop thinking about the screenplay and performance. The daring script following the unreliable narrator plays games with the audience’s minds. Scenes are flipped, repeated by different characters, cast in various locations, placing the audience in the sense of Anthony. Just as confused as Anthony, once you sorted the puzzle putting all pieces together, you will be back to square one with many questions like whether Anne is married or not? How does she look? The caretaker Anne hired real or fictitious? Which apartment is Anthony staying in? As Zeller intends, placing the audience in the shoes of a person who is losing grip on reality is triumphant.

With many award-winning performances, from a cannibalistic serial killer in “The Silence of the Lambs (1991)” to a staid butler in “The Remains of the Day (1993)” to playing Nixon in “Nixon (1995)”, Anthony Hopkins always astonishes the audience with his masterclass acting. The Father is another milestone in Anthony’s remarkable career. His masterclass performance with skewed reality in his own hallucinogenic world is devastating and heartbreaking to watch. Undoubtedly this is the best performance from 2020; Anthony Hopkins, a six-time Oscar nominee, already Makes History as the Oldest Best Actor Oscar Nominee at 83 years. Hoping to see Anthony holding the oscar in the ceremony for the second time. Olivia Coleman amazingly showed the sadness, the pain of the character dealing with the situation of her loved Father slowly losing grip of reality and forgetting her. Most of the film is set in Anthony’s flat. Still, it never feels monotonous to watch because of the marvellous smooth editing and cinematography.

Conclusion: The movie you can’t get out of your head. “The Father (2020)” places the audience in the mind of someone struggling to find reality. Anthony Hopkins again surprises with his masterclass acting. My rating is 8/10.

Director: Florian Zeller
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss
Genre: Drama

Vakeel Saab (2021): Serious, vital subject tumble-down by commercial elements

Vakeel Saab (2021) review

Although Vakeel Sab clearly manages to deliver the message “when the girl says No, it means No” the direction couldn’t….

If you’re following my reviews, you know that I am firmly against remaking already a good film. Suppose the movie is well-scripted, executed; what language it might be in French, Korean, Japanese, or any. The movie will reach the audience’s hearts and minds in every corner of the world. And watching foreign films opens up the world to a viewer in different cultural artifacts, different filmmaking styles, and many. Not only Vakeel Saab (2021) is a pointless remake of the exceptional film Pink (2016), it ruined a serious, important subject by adding commercial, crowd-pleasing elements. Yes, the third act, the courtroom segment, is decent but to get there, I have to get through an unnecessary, uninteresting 1hr and 15min.

Vakeel Saab Is a remake of the terrific original Bollywood movie Pink (2016). The legal drama follows three independent working women Pallavi (Nivetha Thomas), Zarina (Anjali), and Divya (Ananya Nagalla). After Pallavi was molested by the politician’s son Vamshi (Vamsi Krishna) and their friends, Pallavi and her friends, try to file an FIR against them. But the case was rigged and filed against Pallavi. No lawyer wants to fight their case as Vamshi is a politician’s son until their neighbor Satyadev (Pawan Kalyan) decides to defend them, who had quit his practice for years.

The movie Instantly clips the audience with a glimpse into female characters’ lives and the pivotal incident. And then fell apart with director and writer Venu Sriram’s choices. The forty minutes backstory of Satyadev, how he came to be a lawyer, and his love life didn’t add anything to the movie except boredom. The redundant praise of Satyadev’s character for helping the common, fighting for justice, and fight scenes make me wonder if the film is about Satyadev’s character or the crucial social issue that resonates with our cruel society.

Sadly this structure of repetitive praising, unnecessary fight scenes follows the second half making Vakeel Saab all about Pawan Kalyan to please the fans. However, I give a big pass to the second half; the topics debated in the courtroom about women’s protection, the present mentality of our society, and the corrupted system are praiseworthy. Although Vakeel Sab clearly manages to deliver the message “when the girl says No, it means No” the direction and dialogue couldn’t be reached as it can for a social issue, courtroom drama. From “To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)” to “A Few Good Men (1992)” to “The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020),” the courtroom dramas are always compelling with crisp dialogues and dynamic flow of screenplay. At times Vakeel Saab dialogues feel like political speeches for upcoming elections. The pacing was sidetracked by exaggerated lead character Satyadev.

Conclusion: The critical social message is tumbled down by unnecessary commercial elements. Poor execution, the exaggerated lead character, tedious writing makes Vakeel Saab (2021) an unfaithful remake of Pink (2016). My rating is 5.5/10.

Director: Venu Sriram
Cast: Pawan Kalyan, Nivetha Thomas, Anjali
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Godzilla-vs-Kong 2021 movie review

They probably forgot to discuss the plot, narrative structure, and direction in pitch meetings and went with only a CGI battle between two massive monsters in mind.

The fourth installment in the monster verse is what we expected to see. Jam-packed with fan services has many downs and little ups, enough to convince fans and the audience in quarantine. Godzilla vs. Kong is a follow-up story to “Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)” and “Kong: Skull Island (2017)”. It’s been five years since Godzilla defeated Ghidorah, now he is looking for his worthy rival, Kong. Godzilla strikes the Apex facility, as guessed its evil corporation, for no solid reason. Apex CEO Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir) proposes a plan to search for a power source in the Hollow Earth, the homeworld of the Titans, that can help them overthrow Godzilla. At the same time, Monarch, a secret scientific organization, is monitoring Kong within a large simulated habitat like in “The Hunger Games” movies. With the help of Kong guiding them through Hollow Earth, the team discovers the ancient mysteries that lie deep within the planet’s core.

“Godzilla vs. Kong” not only suffers from uninteresting human arcs and mediocre characterization like its predecessor, but it also gets messy with its dopey and laughable plot. The lack of interesting characters and half-baked acting makes the first half a hot mess. The only interesting human character in the movie is Jia (Kaylee Hottle), the last Iwi native kid who is deaf and can communicate with Kong. Sadly that is underdeveloped and unexplored. The only good thing I can find is the thirty-minute clash between the two titans, which is well handled from CGI to Sound mix, making it pleasurable to watch. The good old monster movies like “Jurassic Park,” “Jaws,” “King Kong (2005)”, where filmmakers and producers gave more importance to plot, characterization, filmmaking. Rather than only relying on CGI and fan service. This is U-turned in the recent Hollywood tentpole movies.

The ridiculous main plot of “Godzilla vs. Kong” is lined up with an even more absurd subplot, which will have no impact on the story. Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), an employee of Apex Cybernetics, steals secret information about the sinister activities of Apex and publicizes it in the podcast. For some reason, the big evil corporation cannot locate him, but the kids, Madison (Millie Bobby Brown) and Josh (Julian Dennison), can. They sneak (no, they walk) into the secret Apex facility underground like they are covered with an invisible cloak from Harry Potter. Without getting the attention of highly Guarded security and discovering secrets that will not serve anything to the main story.

Conclusion: Apart from a 30 min spectacular CGI battle, the movie is disappointing even for a disposable popcorn flick. It gets senseless with every minute with the ridiculous plot, mundane characters, and poor acting. My rating is 4.5/10.

Director: Adam Wingard
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

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