It is with a heavy heart that i write this review for Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Hollywood has chosen the blind eye on this potential book-to-screen fantasy franchise. The first Percy Jackson film was in all ways a miraculous entertainer. It took itself serious only when it needed to. Chris Columbus’s Percy Jackson: Lightning Thief is far better than the Thor Freudenthal sequel.
When Ghost Rider 2 made a mockery of itself, we didn’t care. But, when Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters becomes consumed in the world of bad decisions, you tend to twitch. The boy who recovered the stolen lightning is now the second best in Camp Half Blood. He’s a daredevil but at the same time, he’s rusty. But, one thing we all know is that he is the chosen one.
When Percy (Logan Lerman) lock horns with Clarisse (Leven Rambin), the daughter of Ares, you start wondering if the two would fall in love, the same way he and Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) fell in love in the predecessor. Oh, speaking of Annabeth, she is present throughout the film. But, she isn’t taken seriously either. All she does is stand in the background and cheer for Percy. And having seen her in True Detective, I cannot watch her play a teenager anymore.
The first film boasted a good cast – Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener and even Uma Thurman. None of whom return in this 100-minute long debacle.
CGI takes a nose dive in this film, and I’m coming to think that South Indian films have better CGI. There is a Greek monster (dubbed as the Colchis Bull) which is shown to be a golden mechanical bull. Also, the Greek god, Kronos is a two-dimensional drawing in red and black.
The acting is wooden. The humour is parch. The overall experience is somber. If there are plans of making a third part, a lot of work needs to be done.
A silent film in the time of 3D invasion! What more can we ask to revisit the glorious time of Hollywood as it experimented different genres. The Artist is a splendid entertainer.
The Descendants (****)
George Clooney is at it again. This time, he’s playing the not-so-cool dad who tries to repair broken relationships with his comatose wife and rebellious daughters. Apart from Clooney, Shailene Woodley as the troubled teenager comes next in terms of fine performances.
Midnight in Paris (****)
Woody Allen’s love letter to the literary greats of 1920s, Midnight in Paris is astonishingly a rework of the Allen magic last witnessed in Annie Hall and, Hannah and Her Sisters.
Male tearjerkers are slowly building up thanks to the efforts of indie filmmakers. In 50/50, Joseph Gordon-Levitt proves why he’s the new face of comedy-dramas. Based on the actual experiences of screenwriter Will Reiser, 50/50 is a sensational film.
Margin Call (***)
J.C. Chandor’s impressive film has a fine grip on its viewers. Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons and Zachary Quinto perform well in this cast ensemble that also includes the likes of Paul Bettany, Demi Moore and Stanley Tucci. Margin Call is not a mystery film. But, it has the likes of a thriller.
The following films are included in the “Ten Best Films of 2011” list:
Fourteen year old girl rediscovers life after being brutally murdered
The Lovely Bones (PG-13)
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Stanley Tucci, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz and Susan Sarandon
Genre: CGI-groomed Drama
There are some films which do the trick of generating a good buzz and then turning out so bad that you wondered why it was made. Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones is such a film. Yes, I said it right – PETER JACKSON – the guy who made Lord of the Rings. The Lovely Bones has it wrong from the first minute. The murdered girl, Susie Salmon feels happy that she was murdered so that she could see her father stand up for her.
And, seriously, 135 minutes is too long. The best part is I can’t even count my yawns while this movie was screened in a huge theatre when I could easily count the number of people who were watching it. The Lovely Bones is a tripping stone in Jackson’s career. Murder is not something with a positive side. It’s something with a totally negative side. Why does Jackson make murder sound like miracle in this film?
And check out those CGI will you! I have never seen something so cheesy and it feels like playing a game of Mario Bros. where you have either blue sky and green grass or dark sky and darker water. Oh yes! The animation bores you to the core and the murdered girl actually finds afterlife to be more interesting. Well, The Lovely Bones becomes satirical in between and Jackson opens up a flow of emotions that are totally unnecessary.
What do you get from this movie about a fourteen year-old girl who dies painfully and then prevents her murderer from getting murdered by the right person, her dad? Well, you sure do get the message. Find a serial killer who kills fourteen year-olds and then frame him as a hero. Stanley Tucci becomes a hero for playing a serial killer. Saoirse Ronan pulls off a neat role in the animated grassy patches of afterlife which according to the film is somewhere in between Earth and Heaven while as the parents of the murdered girl, Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz play their parts well on the rough and tough Planet Earth.
Based on a best-selling novel by Alice Sebold, I wonder how Jackson has re-invented the bestseller into a box office bomb. The Lovely Bones fails to impress and those cheap-ass CGI or ‘A Peter Jackson film’ tagline will never help.
A Delicious Meal Cooked To Perfection By Streep and Adams
Julie & Julia (PG-13)
Director: Nora Ephron
Cast: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci
Genre: Comedy Drama
Ratatouille was an amazing film. It’s about a rat which aspires to become the best cook in Paris. Well, Ratatouille has carried a little inspiration from the life of Julia Child who wanted to become the best French cook in American land. Her moral support was her beloved husband, Paul. Half a century later, thirty year old hard-working Julie Powell decided to start a blog where she would cook all the 524 recipes in just a year. She maintained a blog and stood true to it. Her problem was her husband, Eric with whom she often argued.
Julie & Julia is based on two books. One written by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme is My Life in France which recounts her French experience. The other is a memoir written by Julie Powell named Julie & Julia. Nora Ephron has combined both the books to bring out a past-present setup which was first introduced in Godfather Part II. Julie & Julia is set partly after World War II and partly after 9/11.
Meryl Streep combines Julia Child’s voice and her own acting talents to bring onscreen a lively portrayal. In the present day, Julie Powell struggles to bring life to her blog. Her adventures are carried out in her tiny apartment atop a pizzeria with her mystic cat and her emulative husband whom she disapproves of for not guiding her properly although he does half of her work.
The misfortunes of Julia Child in finding a publisher leads halfway through as she switches countries and finally lands in Massachusetts which brings her light. While Paul Child is brought to life by a charismatic portrayal by Stanley Tucci, Streep does overlook her performance as Julia Child. The film is at heart, a beautiful memoir recounting the change Julia Child has made in Julie Powell’s life. But, it rather sticks to them and doesn’t bring anyone else in it.
When Paul Child has more space, Eric Powell shares very little space and is often there for an argument. Amy Adams as Julie Powell is scintillating. After an Academy Award nominated role as an innocent nun in Doubt (a role I loved), she plays a tired and bugged thirty year old who tries to take a chance on herself.
Movies on cooking are usually overlapped by romance (as in No Reservations). But, the movies which detail on cooking alone are fewer in number. Julie & Julia is such a film. Bon Appétit!