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In Time February 8, 2012

Posted by Afrozy Ara in Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi.
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It was a vacant Sunday evening foreboding a whole work week ahead. With nothing much to do (it’s pathetic to start a book on Sunday evening, unless it’s a thriller and you can get into the groove right from page 1! ) , I stumbled upon the sci-fi thriller – In Time .

The movie is set in a dystopian future when the human race is genetically modified to live only 25 years, after which everyone has to earn Time to survive. And like the ultimate scarce resource, Time cannot be created – it can only be transferred from one person to another. So as the cost of living continues to rise, the poor will die (or “time out” early) while the rich can live on till immortality.

Apart from this ingenious sci-fi theme, In Time has a very simple story. Realizing the inequity caused by the rich hoarding time, while the poor live by the hour, Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) along with Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried) goes on a Robin Hood style mission to steal Time from the rich and distribute it to the poor. Armed with a gun, these 2 guys just walk in, robbing bank after bank. That’s it!

The idea to use Time as a currency is novel, giving a fresh dimension to the Hollywood fraternity’s obsession with different ways to destroy the earth (Aliens, Dinosaurs,  Godzilla and 2012! ) But then, for a story to be compelling it’s not just the idea or the scenes. It has to touch some emotional chord, and somehow I missed that soul in the movie. So, while it does remarkably well on the concept and setting, it is quite weak in plot. And the characters simply don’t stand out.

Amanda Seyfried looks stunning; with all her stunts in designer party dresses and high heels (you can hardly recognize her as one of the Mean girls in the 2004 movie). Cillian Murphy has unforgettable haunting (and sometimes mean) blue eyes! He plays a foil to the hero as a Time keeper, the cop out to catch the Time stealers. The performance by Justin Timberlake is OK, his stint in The Social Network, IMO was much more impressive.

But then, it’s not the actor’s fault. The character simply did not have enough meat! It’s like an awesome concept which was developed in a hurry. The writers just didn’t want to put more effort into it, or add complexity to the plot. The producers wanted to package something and send it out fast. And that’s quite sad for a movie that had a potential to become great (like Inception) but turned out to be “just good”.

Will agree with the IMDB rating on this, it’s 6.6 out of 10.

P.S. I don’t know why, but this movie sort of inspired me to read 1984 by George Orwell. That’s now added to my reading list.

Super 8 October 18, 2011

Posted by Afrozy Ara in Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi.
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It was just another one of those Friday evenings when you are confronted with Life ‘s epic dramas. What to do? Where to go? Which movie to see ?

A search on BookMyShow (That’s the only Movie booking site not blocked in my Office) provided 2 options – “Real Steel” and “Super 8”. An IMDB’s rating of 7.4 and the star power of Steven Spielberg clinched the choice for us. “Super 8” it was!

Now coming to the movie:

Have you ever spent the whole 90 minutes of a movie wondering what the title was all about?. This time I did. Somehow the story didn’t make it very clear and throughout the show, we kept counting for 8 things which would make a Super 8. Missing the first 2 minutes in the start made all the difference, I assume. 😐

Anyways, the whole movie seemed to be a manifestation of Steven Spielberg’s fixation with aliens, and JJ Abrahams’ with cameras (I guess!). It’s like two geniuses put their heads together. Spielberg said “Aliens”. Abrahams nodded ..” Cameras”.. And Whoaaa..We have a movie!!..But unlike Spielberg’s masterpieces of the past, the result here turned out neither very unique nor believable. So it sadly failed to sweep you off your feet.

Set in the fictional town of Lillian, Ohio the story revolves around the lives of 6 kids amidst glimpses of suburban life , parental melodrama and teenage wisecracks.

The beginning set a good tempo for the action to follow. Fast paced, building up tension towards a cinematic climax that simple falls PLOP on the face!

While watching the movie, I somehow had the eerie feeling that the treatment was so Cloverfield like. The invisible unseen alien monster, the camera angles and shooting as a major theme in the story, the characters’ reactions when they realize that their friend Alice(Elle Fanning) has been abducted by the god-knows-what creature stalking the town. It was a Cloverfield “Deja vu”!..

The story leaves many unfinished threads, and as it progresses, becomes lesser and lesser believable . It is almost like once the hidden-for-suspense alien is revealed, the director has set auto-complete on. The audience is simply expected to put two and two together, letting the alien happily fly off back to space. And it’s a happy ending (and lots of question marks) for everyone left behind.

Americans who were kids in 80s and 90s might watch it with a twinge of nostalgia. And it could be a treat for an alien obsessed ET adoring crowd.

But we were disappointed.. 😦

And somehow, the biggest let-down was the IMDB rating. Something between 5 and 6 would have worked just fine.