Review in 140 words or less: Trance

Trance movie, Danny Boyle, James McAvoy
Blurred Lines: James McAvoy in Trance.

Boyle’s Foil
Rating: *

Trance is a film that’s destined to leave you confused. It’s not long until you realize that Danny Boyle has hijacked your mind, and has ultimately robbed you from a good film.

You are introduced to Simon, an art auctioneer who also moonlights as a mastermind in Franck’s brawny gang of thieves. When a painting (stolen by Franck under the guidance of Simon) goes missing, all fingers point to Simon who now suffers from amnesia. Couple this with the presence of a foxy hypnotist (Rosario Dawson in her wake up call), a number of sexual references, a handful of Inception-styled mumbo jumbo, and voila! You have Trance. The film serves as a comeback vehicle for Dawson who is in need of a second chance. But, you never really realize that as Boyle has you captive. Even James McAvoy didn’t realize that.

Review: Zookeeper

Kevin James, porcupine and Leslie Bibb in Zookeeper.

Kevin James and his CGI animals

Rating: *

What’s morose about Zookeeper is the fact that it could have been a lot better. But, upon learning that Adam Sandler is one of the producers (and voice artist), I knew I was fighting a losing battle. Sandler’s reputation at thrashing storylines with his expired SNL jokes is quite the reason why I sympathize with moviegoers.

His last film, Just Go With It was as lame as a six-toed cat on crack in a Chinese whorehouse. There are movies that entertain and there’s Sandler who thinks his movies entertain. 50 First Dates is the only exception. Kevin James himself has a similar repertoire (for instance, Paul Blart: Mall Cop).

Zookeeper, as I mentioned earlier, had the storyline that could have nailed it. Animals break their code to help the titular character get back with his ex-girlfriend. Most gags in this film include the animals teaching their mannerisms to James. The wolf teaches him to pee in public, the bears teach him to walk stupid and the lion… well, the lion just poses around.

Most of the voice actors just use their own voices, which are okay. But, Sandler trying to match a capuchin monkey just blows. There’s Sylvester Stallone as the lion, Cher as the lioness, Nick Nolte as the gorilla, and Maya Rudolph as a singing giraffe. The presence of Rosario Dawson (playing a vet) in the film is inevitable. The actress has never made it to the A-list despite her talent.

Zookeeper has its moments of humour. The proposal at the beginning, where James’ girlfriend (Leslie Bibb) turns him down instantly, tops the list. Frank Coraci, who has a long collaboration with Sandler, makes an erstwhile effort in caring what animals can do. He lets James ride on the back of a gorilla as they scale down Brooklyn Bridge.

Zookeeper uses animal gags for the sake of humour. I wonder if those succeeded in amusing the kids, because they sure didn’t amuse me.

Review: Seven Pounds

Will Smith and Rosario Dawson in Seven Pounds
Will Smith and Rosario Dawson in Seven Pounds

Tear Flowing Drama of a Man


Seven Pounds (PG-13)

Director: Gabriel Muccino

Cast: Will Smith, Rosario Dawson

Rating: **

What inspired you the most to gain expectations on Seven Pounds? Are you a Will Smith fan? Were you fancied by the smart clean-shaved Will Smith with an innocent look on the poster? Did Gabrielle Muccino – Will Smith combination put you in? Or is it the weird but trendy name – Seven Pounds?

Seven Pounds is a totally reality-bitten drama of a man’s emotions. Ben Thomas, an IRS agent with a bitter past finds that he needs to put his work behind and concentrate on helping those who need help. Will Smith is Ben Thomas and he helps seven people throughout the film by donating organs from his body. A down-to-earth Will Smith looks smart even when he is pushing forty years of age. When is the last time you’ve seen Will Smith in a role so matured that he has to die to save some one – the answer is obviously ‘I Am Legend’. You see Ben Thomas committing suicide to save his loved one and also a blind call centre operator.

Gabrielle Muccino carries out Grant Nieporte’s screenplay with enthusiasm. You finally see a movie which has a lively screenplay and it has been worked out to perfection. Talk about the scintillating music by Angelo Milli and you will bow down to the sinful symphonies to the ending credits. Milli has the credible eye for a good background score and you get to hear it in Seven Pounds.

Rosario Dawson has had a long way from ‘Josie and the Pussycats’ to ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ to playing sexually oriented roles in B-grade flicks. But, what you see in Seven Pounds is not a Black American. You see a well coloured, Spanish lady who is simply gorgeous. Other supporting roles by Woody Harrelson and Barry Pepper are cut to a stroke.

Seven Pounds is much like Pursuit of Happyness. I’m not talking of the Gabrielle Muccino – Will Smith combination, but I’m talking about the tone of the film. It has a lot of sadness in the film related to the protagonist. In Pursuit of Happyness, the protagonist is the only one to be affected by his sadness while here in Seven Pounds, everyone he meets are lined up in taking a bath to sadness. Gabrielle Muccino, the famous Italian director was chosen by Will Smith as he knew that he would know the right touch for these films.

What we get to see in Seven Pounds is an inspirational, state-of-the-art visualized, stylish, dragging, self neglected drama of a man. Will Smith has shouldered the responsibility of the whole movie as a credible actor who has never failed in succeeding expectations. What a drastic change has it been for the actor – Pursuit of Happyness in 2006 saw him as a poor and caring father; that Christmas, I Am Legend showed him as the only survivor on the Earth; 2008 had Will Smith pose as Hancock, the drunken abusive resident superhero and now, an emotional IRS agent in Seven Pounds. The actor has been in full form delivering hits all the way with his priceless acting.

Will Smith’s Seven Pounds is just like every other movie. It has Will Smith and it can be seen for Will Smith who is the master of human drama.

Seven Pounds is perhaps the exact offering for the seventh sense of our human body – our emotions.