GEMZ TALKIES

FILM REVIEWS WITH A DIFFERENCE

I was once told that people usually enjoy or dislike a movie based on how they associate themselves with the characters on screen and relate to their lives and their experiences. The way we enjoy it depends also on our cultural and social understanding of the issues presented within the movie. With this in mind, I have started this movie review page and it would feature reviews of movies current and past, whichever has an impact on me or contributors.


I do stress that I would be writing reviews and not critiques as I know how painstaking it is to make a movie. Since it always the case of one man’s meat is another man’s poison, what appeals to me may not necessarily appeal to everyone else. So this is subjective!


Remember this is also an opportunity for anyone to submit their reviews of movies that they feel has had an impact on them culturally or socially.


All film reviews are by Dr Puva Arumugam unless otherwise stated.


We welcome contributions. So do send in your views and reviews and/or critiques to [email protected] for our consideration.

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9 June 2013

Epic

Directed by Chris Wedge. With Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Beyoncé Knowles , Amanda Seyfried.


If you are a person like me who enjoys Children movies and animation films, then "Epic" is surely a movie that you would enjoy!


Director, Chris Wedge said in a recent television interview that this movie took three years to reach fruition. This is because the animation involved is immense and it required the work of many talented people.


The story is based on the book written by William Joyce who also helped to create the films - "Robots", "Meet the Robinsons" and "Rise of the Guardians".


I heard of it recently when my 7 year old told me that she wishes to watch the Movie "Epic" and that they are having a few pre-screening of the movie before the school holidays. As I looked up the screening times, I thought this would be some kind of war movie about the beginning of planet earth! The actual movie is far from the literal description of the word Epic. Instead, it is an action packed movie with a simple story line of good vs evil and the underlying message is to think green at all costs!


Mary Katherine is a teenager who has recently lost her mother. She decides to make an attempt to reconnect with her father who is a eco-scientist and he lives out in the remote forests with a pet dog as his constant companion.


He is not your usual scientist who is doing research on the flora and fauna but one who believes that the forest is also the habitat of small people who are green and feisty .


Obviously like you, his daughter too thinks he has lost his plot...but the plot thickens when she finds herself shrunk and put in charge of a "bud" that would save the entire eco system of the forest! And this is when the fun begins!


The animation of the characters are lively and realistic. The supporting roles of the flowers, birds and insects especially the Slug makes this movie very enjoyable and entertaining. There are also some connecting father-daughter moments that most parents can relate too.


During the movie, my 7 year old asked, quite exasperatedly, as to "Why are there always more bad guys than good guys in all movies?!!"...and I answered quite truthfully:"That's the way life is baby!..but don't worry..the good guys will always be the winner..no matter how small they are in numbers!"


My favourite character is tall, dark and handsome warrior, Ronin who is so in control of situations at most times...the kids, however, loved the Queen (Beyonce), the leading actress Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried) and the slug, Mub (Aziz Ansani)!


My 10 year old said this movie will warm the hearts of all nature lovers and she clapped with the rest of the children who were there when the movie ended. And I joined in as I too had lots of fun watching it!


A wonderful entertainment for kids and parents.


PS...Hoyts in Melbourne is having pre-screening during selected weekends before the actual release date in late June! Enjoy! 

17 Sep 2013

The Smurfs 2

Directed by Raja Gosnell

Music by Heitor Pereira

Starring Katy Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays, Christina Ricci and Jonathan Winters among others


With the school holidays looming on us next week, this would be a great movie to start with!


Being a sequel to the 2011 Smurfs Movie, this comic book based story is a warm and funny family movie that has something for everyone! While kids roll in their seats with laughter and chuckles, parents will also share a funny moment or two as the characters stride between reality and animation on the big screen!


Being set mostly in Paris, we are introduced to two new animated characters Vexy and Hackus, who are technically Smurfette's siblings as they are the evil creations of Smurfette's real father, Gargamel!


They were brought to life by the power crazed Gargamel who tried to replicate Smurfette in an attempt to retrieve the magic powers from smurfs. Alas, Gargamel's plans failed and all he was left with were two evil children to amuse himself with! Without the magic formula of Papa Smurf's smurf creation potion, these tiny creatures will not be able to aid Gargamel in achieving his evil plan of being the evil RULER of earth! Gargamel realises that this plan would only work if he gets hold of Smurfette, his daughter who knows Papa Smurf's secret formula!


While Gargamel plots and plans to lure Smurfette back to his clutches, we are treated to a series of hilarious events.


Papa Smurf and his team of three trusted Smurfs; Grumpy, Vanity and Clumsy, leave the Smurf village to look for Smurfette who gets kidnapped on her birthday! Teaming together with their human family friends namely Patrick and Grace Winslow, Blue their son and Patrick's Stepfather, Victor Doyle; the rescue team literally run amok in the streets of Paris trying to locate Smurfette!!


In the meantime, Smurfette explores her identity issues when she meets her real family. Time and time again, we have read about how values taught from young and the provision of a good family background does matter in the making of a person's character. Smurfette's exploration of her innate characteristics puts this theory to test as she creates havoc with her siblings in Paris trying to find out who she wants to be!


Another character that stole the show is Gargamel's pet cat, Azreal! It is not easy being a slave to an evil master let alone being his pet! Azreal's presence is more than that of a court jester!


Enjoy the movie with your family during this holidays!


Another children-family movie to look out for would be TURBO, the story of the fast racing snail!


Till my next review, au revoir!


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17 June 2013

Despicable Me 2

Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud

Main Stars: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig and Ken Jeong


If you were to ask me to choose between the Movie Epic and Despicable Me 2, my vote goes to the latter. I am a tad bit biased though..I am a Despicable Me fan!!! And I thoroughly enjoyed the sequel!


The movie had me entertained from the start to till the end. It was Mission Impossible, Mr and Mrs Smith and a combination of a few James Bond elements put together in one reel of animation.


Gru, a single dad of three girls, has switched from villain mode to hero mode in this sequel. He is actually very likeable in this movie.


I was touched by how well he had his act together as a caring and loving Single Dad while building a decent business to sustain his family. He is of course helped by his capable Minions and Dr Nefario who keep us engaged and entertained throughout the movie!


Gru owing to his past reputation as a villain, is hunted down by "CIA" and or "FBI" equivalent authorities, known as the Anti Villain League (AVL), to help find the latest villain who is causing menace to the world.


After initial deliberation, Gru takes on the assignment and this time, he gets a lady partner, Lucy Wilde to work with. Together, they set off to save the world and detect the identity of this new super villain at a supermarket mall!


There is never a dull moment in this movie. As the producers have merged aspects of many spy movies together, you will certainly identify familiar scenes, moves and actions throughout as Gru and Lucy make attempts in their Klutzy way to find the villain!


For those who watched 'Despicable Me' in 2010, you will never forget the Oompa Lumpa Inspired Minions! Once again, these cute yellow and blue creatures steal the show with their well oiled coordination and funny attempts to make coherent noises. I personally think the colour yellow suits them better. Let me know your thoughts once you have watched the movie.


Gru's daughters Margo, Edith and Agnes have certainly grown in terms of characterisation. They add the spice and flavour to the movie. Their love for their dad is certainly contagious. The addition of Agent Lucy Wilde to the mix is refreshing and the couple complement each other in all aspects.


The movie has a bit of everything for everyone ranging from songs, dance, suspense, Sci-fi action and funny fights.


This is a very fun, fun, fun movie that your kids and you will love and enjoy! I have already had requests from my kids to watch it again. I personally wouldn't mind watching it again.


Enjoy!


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2 March 2013

Side Effects - Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Written by Scott Z BurnsStarring Jude Law, Catherine Zeta Jones, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum


“Side Effects” presents a snippet into the lives of a depressed patient who suffers severe side effects from a certain medication prescribed by her psychiatrist!


The movie is described as a thriller...and we the audience will be shown who did it within the first 20-40 minutes.....the thrill was to find the intention behind who did it!!


At some point, my heart went out to my friends who studied psychology and for those who are psychiatrists! Somewhere in the movie, I heard myself saying: "What a crazy fake world it is out there!"


The script is superbly non linear as the twists and turns keep you intrigued throughout the movie.

The casting was brilliant - Jude Law presents his case quite convincingly as a victimised psychiatrist and so does Catherine Zeta Jones who so cleverly provides the alternative edge to the story line. Channing Tatum is hot and Rooney Mara can act! Literally!

The cinematography was also impressive where the camera explored angles and soft/sharp focus of lens to purposefully make us think out of the box! I particularly liked the reflection scenes taken during a car ride.


Kudos to Thomas Newman who peppered the movie with mind racing and at times, heart thumping Indian/Middle Eastern Music which helped to create the necessary tensions and moods for this movie! Mental note: Must get the soundtrack!


Being a true-blue thriller movie fan, I would award four stars! Feel free to send me your thoughts and views!



26 March 2013


The Croods

Directors - Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders

Starring Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynold, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman, Clark Duke, Chris Sanders, Randy Thom


This movie hits the Melbourne Screens on 28 March just in time for the School Holidays! And it is a feel good kids movie that would be enjoyed by both children and parents!


Set in the Palaeolithic times, the story captures the transition of a prehistoric family going through "Change" for the first time.


The story outlines how many of us are afraid to venture out of our comfort zones only because we have been told to do certain things in a certain way or it has been passed down to us by the generations before and we are used to doing things in one or two certain ways!


Change is always not embraced with open arms because of its uncertainty. Families that are set in their ways or practices will relate to the Dad in this story who takes it upon himself to be the protector and the guardian of this family so that they avoid danger at all costs!


And like all normal families, there will be one that follows the rules without questioning and one that will live to question!


The family is forced by circumstances to move into unfamiliar surroundings and company! Then the fun of amalgamation, adaptation and transition begins!


The bond of the family is tested, the strength and weakness of each family member is encapsulated! There is give and take and there is learning to be done by the old and new!


I loved the 100 odd million dollars digital graphics and I am sure it would be worth every cent if you watched it on 3D! The story line was something close to my heart as it showed moving to a new land is not an easy task even if you choose to move in the first place! I sat glued to my seat reflecting on my life as a migrant in a foreign country while my kids were just enjoying the splendour of digital graphics and the timely jokes presented by a well written script! The characterisation of young and old was also quite refreshing even though the story was pretty simple and straight forward.


One thing that resonates throughout the movie is that Change in inevitable and we have a choice to either embrace it or resist it! Whatever we do with change, IT will happen!


Other Children Movies that Adults will enjoy too are:

*Despicable Me 2

*Return to Nims Island

*Adventures in Zambezia (Must watch, Must Watch!)


If you happen to watch these movies before I do, please send your reviews to [email protected]