Comedy Dramas galore!

Whether it’s 50/50 or The Descendants, this is a sign that comedy dramas have become the winning stake for independent and art house cinema. Read on…

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen in 50/50.

50/50

Rating: ****

As a slowly building male tearjerker, 50/50 connects to the viewers only because of its first-person narrative. And our first person here is a simpleton like the rest of us with a normal job and a stale relationship with his girlfriend and mother. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is as enthralling as he could be. I remember mentioning in my reviews of (500) Days of Summer and Inception that Gordon-Levitt has the charm to carry any role and 50/50 is just another feather in his cap. But, what makes 50/50 so special is that, the protagonist Adam appears undervalued to an extent that when he learns that he’s suffering from cancer, he manages to hold a mental breakdown until the last-minute.

Seth Rogen appears as his usual self, spitting four-letter profanities and providing marijuana. He tries to exhibit his acting skills in a movie that demands more than his usual crankiness. But, his failure in making a commendable supporting actor is covered by Will Reiser’s screenplay that moves rapidly like a comedy, and then freezes like a drama. Hence, 50/50 is a perfectly scripted comedy-drama. Anjelica Huston, Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard co-star in the film and they use the limited space given to them. Huston as Adam’s mother succeeds with her exceptional use of deadpan humor, last noticed in The Addams Family.

A coming-of-age tale that circles on the rediscovery of a cancer-stricken youngster, 50/50 is accompanied by witty humor. The strength of the film lies in Gordon-Levitt’s charismatic performance.

George Clooney and Shailene Woodley in The Descendants.

The Descendants

Rating: ****

Clooney is no stranger to comedies or comedy-dramas. His career is spotlit by many films such as O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Intolerable Cruelty, Burn After Reading, and most notably Up in The Air (a personal favorite). The Descendants explains why a filmmaker can entrust a dangerously treading role to Clooney. The scene in which he confronts his comatose wife about her affair with an unknown man tops the list of reasons on why The Descendants is a nod to a possible Oscar win.

Shailene Woodley stars as the out-of-control teenage daughter who comes second in terms of acting skills. Shailene’s strength lies in her ability to speak dialogues with frustration. The father-daughter bonding is generally a go-to sign in chick flicks. But, this comedy-drama dwells in that issue and the outcome is a success story for filmmaker Alexander Payne, who is well-known for his films Election and Sideways.

This really is one of the finest films of the year. Clooney deserves the accolades and as far as the movie goes, death shatters the family, but it brings them closer.

Review: Terminator Salvation

terminator-salvation

Return Of The Future And T800s

Terminator Salvation (PG-13)

Director: McG

Cast: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington.

Rating: ***

Furious action from the first frame to the last. You can’t find a second to let your eyes rest. That’s McG’s Terminator Salvation. The film is amazingly believable. It makes sense to the first film. We really are happy to see Dark Knight fight without a mask. Undergoing a rapid changeover, the film is not your usual time travel and hunt for the Connors. It is set in the future and depicts the war between Skynet and humanity. The film offers you a leg up on how the first film was formed. That’s an amazing thing to notice. Secondly, all events of the first film happen with a reason.

If there was Shoot ‘Em Up which had Clive Owen shooting men here and there, we have Terminator Salvation where Christian Bale shoots the machines here and there. Accompanied by heavy animation, the film seems to be yet another big task for Industry Lights & Magic.

The film is full of action as I said and it moves in an amazing speed. But, McG does give way to those regular speed bumps. Terminator Salvation also has a fresh cast. Christian Bale is John Connor, Bryce Dallas Howard plays Kate Connor and Anton Yelchin plays a teenage Kyle Reese. Thus, McG’s new cocktail seems to be full of energy.

Helen Bonham Carter’s cameo in the beginning is a better laid one. Bryce Dallas Howard replaces Claire Danes in this film as Kate Connor. Ms. Howard must know that Claire Danes’ Kate Connor was blonde and not redhead. Moon Bloodgood’s tomboyish Blair Williams is yet another waste in Terminator Salvation.

The story opens with a death row inmate, Marcus Wright offering his body to a medical research following his execution by lethal injection. The film moves onto to 2018 where John Connor is leading the resistance in a raid against Skynet. At the same time, Marcus Wright returns to life and finds the world to be new. He then joins Kyle Reese as they head to the Resistance HQ. Marcus’ allies change one by one as he reaches John Connor. Twists and turns lead to new paths and cause more jeopardy.

Sam Worthington’s metallic acting and Christian Bale’s stainless steel looks make them think that they’re soldiers of the Salvation Army but definitely cannot be accepted as an actor. Bale’s grunts are a little irritating though.

Terminator Salvation has an amazing screenplay. The plot points are remarkable ones. The BGM by Danny Elfman is another boon to the film. The dark beats are certainly the best of his scores following his soothing tunes in Milk. McG has pulled off a remarkable performance and has noted the depth of each Terminator film.

Terminator Salvation is certainly THE movie for the fans. It’s got Bale, Worthington and others. It’s got McG leading them all. It’s got a hell load of graphics to keep your eyes moving. It is worth a watch.