Lion (2016)

Lion
Director: Garth Davis
Writer: Luke Davies
Based on: the autobiography A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley with Larry Buttrose
Cast: Sunny Pawar, Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Abhishek BharatePriyanka BoseDavid WenhamRooney Mara
Seen on: 10.3.2017

Plot:
Saroo (Sunny Pawar) lives with his family in Khandwa. He adores his big brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) and when Guddu leaves to take a job for a day, Saroo tags along, the start of an oddyssey that leads him to Calcutta without any means to contact his family, or any clear idea where they are. Finally Saroo is adopted by an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman, David Wenham). Many years later, the by now grown Saroo (Dev Patel) tries desperately to find out about his origins and what happened to his biological family.

Lion is practically the epitome of a tear-jerker and it worked very well for me. Meaning I was emotionally invested the entire time and sobbing a lot.

Continue reading

The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)

The Man Who Knew Infinity
Director: Matt Brown
Writer: Matt Brown
Based on: Robert Kanigel‘s biography of Srinivasa Ramanujan
Cast: Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Malcolm Sinclair, Raghuvir Joshi, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Arundathi Nag, Devika BhiseStephen Fry, Toby Jones, Jeremy Northam
Seen on: 19.7.2016

Plot:
Ramanujan (Dev Patel) works as a clerk in India, but his passion lies with mathematics. Unfortunately he finds nobody to listen to his theories and formulas because he doesn’t have any formal education. But then he manages to convince Francis Spring (Stephen Fry) to bring his notebook to England where it reaches G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons) and fellow professor Littlewood (Toby Jones) at Cambridge. Hardy in particular is intrigued by the wild talent he sees in Ramanujan and arranges for him to come to the UK. Although he has to leave his wife Janaki (Devika Bhise) behind, Ramanujan can’t let this chance for recognition go and makes his way to England and academia.

The Man Who Knew Infinity covers an interesting story but it is stuck too much in storytelling and filmmaking conventions to leave much of an impression.

themanwhoknewinfinity Continue reading

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Director: John Madden
Writer: Ol Parker
Sequel to: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Cast: Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Penelope WiltonDiana Hardcastle, Dev Patel, Tena DesaeLillete DubeyVikram Singh, David Strathairn, Tamsin Greig, Richard Gere
Seen on: 9.4.2015

Plot:
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is doing well with its permanent senior residents. So well, in fact, that Sonny (Dev Patel) and Muriel (Maggie Smith) decide that they want to expand. But for that to work, they need an investor. They travel to the USA to talk to Ty Burley (David Strathairn), CEO of a chain of retirement homes there. Burley announces that he will send somebody to check out the hotel and make his decision based on that. But that’s not the only thing going on in the hotel: Sonny is getting married to Sunaina (Tina Desai), his mother (Lillete Dubey) keeps butting in – or at least that’s what Sonny feels. Two new guests arrive (Richard Gere, Tamsin Greig) and the old ones (Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle) all have their own issues to deal with.

Much like the first film, the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was mostly fluff. It was funny, sweet and rather enjoyable, if you don’t expect too much of it and just want to see great actors in an entertaining film.

secondbestexoticmarigoldhotel Continue reading

Chappie (2015)

Chappie
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Writer: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Ninja, Yo-Landi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Brandon Auret
Seen on: 13.3.2015

Plot:
The robot police force has been rather well established in South Africa and the company producing and maintaining them, headed by Michelle Bradley (Sigourney Weaver), is extremely successful. But not all engineers are quite satisfied yet. Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) dreams of building an AI and trying it on one of the robots, while Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman) is convinced that his robots – that are more like war machines – are the future. Then Deon gets his hands on a discarded robot and installs his AI, creating Chappie (Sharlto Copley). But Chappie gets promptly stolen by Ninja (Ninja), Yolandi (Yo-Landi Visser) and Yankie (Jose Pablo Cantillo) who bring him up as a gangster like themselves.

Good grief, Chappie was bad. I barely have the words to express just how bad. [And I just realized that I’ve written almost the same thing about Elysium already.] I have yet to see a Blomkamp film that works for me, but Chappie is certainly the worst of the bunch.

chappie Continue reading

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Director: John Madden
Writer: Ol Parker
Based on: Deborah Moggach‘s novel These Foolish Things
Cast: Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Dev Patel, Tena Desae

Plot:
7 British retirees travel to India where they take up residence in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. A hotel they wrongly believe to be freshly restored. Instead they find a crumbling building run by the overwhelmed Sonny (Dev Patel). And generally India brings them nothing they expected. Evelyn (Judi Dench) ends up taking the first job of her life. Graham (Tom Wilkinson) is looking for someone from his past. Madge (Celia Imrie) and Norman (Ronald Pickup) are just looking for a connection. Muriel (Maggie Smith) just wants a new hip, even if she has to take it from a brown doctor. While Douglas (Bill Nighy) and Jean (Penelope Wilton) really just can’t afford anything else. But even though all of them might not get what they deserve, they might just get what they need.*

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is fluff. Fluff with a great cast and a nice atmosphere and a whole lot of cultural stereotypes. But it’s entertaining.

*Apologies, Batman.

Continue reading

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Slumdog Millionaire is the Oscar hogging movie of the year, directed by Danny Boyle, starring Dev Patel, Freida Pinto and Anil Kapoor. The screenplay was written by Simon Beaufoy, based on the novel by Vikas Swarup.

Plot:
Jamal [Dev Patel] grows up in the slums of Mumbai. By chance, he gets invited to the quiz show “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” After getting to the penultimate question before the time runs out, he is arrested and accused to have cheated. In flashbacks, Jamal tells the police officers of his life in the slums, growing up with his brother Salim [Madhur Mittal], meeting the love of his life Latika [Freida Pinto], being orphaned and how he came to know the answers to the questions.

The movie has praise after praise heaped on it and it is a good film. But – of course there’s a “but” – it is not as good as many reviewers (and all the Oscars) want to make you think. It has some impressive stuff, but also some bigger issues.

slumdog_millionaire

[SPOILERS]

Continue reading