Movie Review: 47 Ronin

To say 47 Ronin is good – would be wrong. TO say 47 Ronin is bad – wouldn’t be right either.

There are three things that you expect from a Samurai movie –

1. Major philosophical discourse about pride and honour. Check.

2. Lots of high quality sword fight sequences. Not Check.

3. High quality art of war kinda strategy. Not check.

So, 1 on 3. That should be bad. What makes it worse is the unwanted element of Tengu (demon) forests and shapeshifting witches. And a Keanu Reeves who’s shuffling with Matrix part trois and Constantine. He talks in a laboriously husky voice, and an air of mystique. Not required.

ImageSo, in short, the movie doesn’t quite deliver what I had expected it to deliver. And hence, it’s a bad movie.

So, what makes me take a somewhat neutral stand? The production values are slick. Some of the cinematography is top class. The short but sweet action sequence towards the end is very well done.

The movie is long. There is no need for you to go for the 3D version on this one.  I would recommend that you skip this one. If you want an alternate recommendation, I’d go with 13 Assassins, or Red Cliff.

Movie Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller- you surprised me on this one. Excellent performance. Absolutely wonderful.

20140105-142109.jpg

In a simple way, the movie is an underdog story of sorts. Look at it another way, its a movie of self discovery. Walter, a negative asset manager at the Life magazine, is a witty, charming, world saving guy, all in his head. In reality, he is a general nobody, who has a habit of zoning out at key moments into the secret life. That is, until he finds himself on a journey to recover a negative, the number 25, that must be the cover of the last edition of LIfe.

Ben is astoundingly brilliant as Walter, and adds a level of comic timing and maturity to his role that i haven’t associated with him so far. For me, he has always been a bit of a goofball, who does movies like Meet The Fockers, or A Night At The Museum. SLOWM is not a goofy comedy. Its a pleasant and nice movie, with some hilariously comic moments that are not antics backed, but are script and screenplay backed. However, the part that impressed me more is when Walter Mitty is being the real Walter and not the subconcious one. Down to his pocket notebook, where he keeps his expenses, or replies in a matter of fact way that he chose Yemen as his route because of the $84 airfare.

The rest of the cast is fairly average, with the exception of the three minutes of Sean Penn. “When I like something, personally, myself, I stay in it. I find the camera to be a distraction.” The love interest, the sister, the mother, the colleagues, the transition manager, etc etc etc. – all of them are strictly average. But, such is the towering presence of Ben Stiller in the movie, that you dont mind these props.

The movie has some breathtaking cinematography. If there was ever to be made a case for Greenland, Iceland and Afghanistan as a tourist destination, this movie is one. Some of the shots are breathtaking. And the shots of Iceland before the eruption of the volcano are picture perfect.

Its a taut, nice and fluid movie, and and an immensely enjoyable one. A heartearming tale. I would go with a 3.5 on 5 for this one. Go watch it.

%d bloggers like this: