to his inherited fortune, John du Pont (Carell), cold and
self-obsessed, can afford to indulge his eclectic whims, from
ornithology and philately to freestyle wrestling. He wants to train his
'Team Foxcatcher' (named after his mother's horse-racing stable) to win
big at the 1988 Olympics and enlists Olympic gold medallist brothers
Mark and Dave Schultz to help achieve this.
Mark (Tatum) and John reside at either end of the wealth spectrum. Mark
has a wrestling gold from the 1984 Olympics and John, scion of the
enormously loaded du Pont family, has a sense of hollow self-importance
that sounds almost ridiculous if it weren't laced with a fairly apparent
feeling that he is rather odd fellow with creepy mannerisms.
Mark is flown to John's estate in Pennsylvania and asked to train for
the Olympics - gold and nothing less, mind you. He is put up in a chalet
offering him every luxury, except any female company. Both men,
however, are lonely and therefore, for a while, they soon become best
mates - two individuals who commonly crave an elusive, inner sense of
Dave (Ruffalo, excellent) later senses
his brother is uneasy about something and flies to John's estate to
train and more importantly, look after Mark. John meanwhile, desperately
but quietly craves his mother's (Redgrave) approval. She loves horses
but turns up her nose at wrestling, calling it a 'low' sport. John's
derision for all things equestrian is apparent when, during one
champagne-soaked evening, he yells to Mark: "They only eat and shit!"
The Carell-Ruffalo-Tatum trio put in terrific, edgy performances. Tatum
thrills in his most mesmerizing performance to date as a hulking
man-child who is emotionally stunted. But it's Carell's (otherwise known
for his comedy roles) impeccable timing that gives his character a
chilling, nuanced intensity tinged with hidden homoeroticism regarding
his proximity to Mark.
is aided by a powerful script (Max Frye and Dan Futterman) and is based
on a true story. The tale is no doubt an unsettling one... and yet,
you'll not want to miss a second.
(Kunis), a janitor, hates her dreary daily existence. She scrubs
toilets for a living and dreams about a better, more purposeful
existence. However, her destiny transcends washrooms, aliens and even
planets. After a part-human hunter named Caine (Tatum) rescues her, she
finds out, to her disbelief, that she actually 'owns' the Earth.
Ascending can be distilled down to a cosmic family tale involving
planetary inheritances, sibling scheming, inadequately-explained
references to genetic theory and plenty of action in between. In theory,
this may sound like an imaginative mix, but what we get is an
essentially simple story told in an overly (and perhaps needlessly)
Jupiter, of the aforesaid existential existence, is at the focal point
of this story. After Caine, the cyberpunk super-soldier who speeds
around in jet-boots, rescues her from a bunch of aliens (a role he will
reprise throughout the film), they head to a safe house owned by his old
comrade Stinger (Bean) where he breaks the news to her that she is,
among other things, royalty. Jupiter is then kidnapped and taken to
Kalique Abrasax (Middleton) in space, who further explains that Jupiter
is a perfect genetic 'recurrence' of her deceased mother Seraphi,
matriarch of an intergalactic royal family who owned planets and
harvested its people for their genetic essence - the coveted fountain of
As Jupiter now owns the Earth (thanks to her genetic
makeup), Kalique needs her as part of the plan to harvest Earth. Her
brothers, the suave Titus (Booth) and uber-villainous Balem (Redmayne)
also need Jupiter to sign away her ownership of Earth. Despite the dazzling effects and stellar art direction (also, more hairstyle variations than actual characters),
skimps on fleshed-out performances and offers little substance to chew
on, compared to say, 1999's Matrix by the Wachowskis and easily their
best in terms of scale-meets-mythology. The Jupiter-Caine love story
angle falls flat but it is Redmayne's deliciously evil, ruthless Balem
who you actually want to see more of. Thankfully though, there is enough
originality in here to please hardcore sci-fi fans.
is a detailed portrayal - flaws included - of the last 25 years of
romanticist British painter J. M. W. Turner's life. Apart from his style
- innovative use of illumination and broad strokes - we also get a
revealing insight into his personal journey.
Spall's depiction of Turner is in a word, earthy. The rotund artist's
vocabulary is frequently punctuated by a string of porcine grunts and
growls, all delivered by this scowling, jowly and not very jolly man.
Unmarried, he lives in a well-appointed home looked after by his
sad-eyed housekeeper Hannah (Atkinson) who he occasionally has sex with.
She craves his affection, but for him, sex is just that. His beloved
father William (Jesson) does the groceries and shares a buddy-like
camaraderie with Turner. Not so with Turner's former mistress Sarah
(Sheen), angry with him for neglecting their kids.
lacks in terms of verbal expressiveness, he more than makes up for via
his canvases. There too, he is unusual. Turner moistens dry parts of
paint on his landscapes with spittle and, wielding his brush like a
scalpel, stabs, scrapes and shapes blobs of paint into hazy sunset hues
and masterful sunrises. Despite its runtime and deliberately slow
(Leigh clearly takes his time here) pace, both these factors are
necessary for a story like this. After all, it harks back to an era when
people rode in horse carriages and cameras (more precisely, the
daguerreotype) were a new thing.
Turner was known for his use
of light and yet, his own life had plenty of melancholic shades. A
depressed soul, however, he was not. He slurs to a young woman at a posh
dinner party one evening in between mouthfuls of custard and port,
"loneliness and solitude are different." Turner finally does find love
and companionship with the widowed landlady, Mrs Booth (Bailey), of a
place he often rented. He lives with her, but does not get married.
Apart from the fantastic characterizations and top-notch
cinematography, the real beauty of Turner's vision was his ability to
find beauty in the seemingly ordinary.
on best-selling author Cecelia Ahern's novel 'Where Rainbows End',
Love, Rosie is the story of two childhood friends, Rosie (Lily Collins)
and Alex (Sam Claflin), who 'keep missing each other in love'. Long
distance, failed marriages, even spats can't wear away the connection
between the two people who always have other's back and turn to each
other to seek solace. Do they end up living 'happily ever after'? Well,
it's a rom-com.
Review: In 1989, Harry
Burns professed his love for Sally Albright in 'When Harry Met Sally...'
because 'he knew whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life with and
he wanted the rest of his life to start as soon as possible'.
Two-and-a-half decades later, with a new crop of actors, Love, Rosie
attempts the same with formulaic candy-floss romance from Nora Ephron's
memorable film and is quite successful in warming the cockles of our
Playing childhood BFFs, Collins and Claflin bring forth an enchanting
chemistry. It is a pre-requisite for any romantic comedy to bring on
screen the tangibility of their romance. The actors make Rosie and
Alex's bonding affable. Their familiarity forms the crux of their
romance and their ability to take each other for granted has a relatable
vein to it.
Disaster strikes when Alex moves to Harvard to
study medicine and Rosie's unplanned pregnancy (not with Alex's child)
separates them. She decides to withhold the information and, suddenly,
their lives take starkly disparate paths. The story establishes them as
two flawed characters who visibly complete each other. Director
Christian Ditter brings this out beautifully through tender scenes, like
the one where Rosie discloses the truth about her baby to Alex and he
asks if he could be the godfather.
There are many hiccups in
this drama. Using the track 'Push It' during a childbirth sequence is
enraging, but the warm sunshine-filled lovable frames purge these flaws.
The film's ribald humour, like a condom mishap and another S&M
disaster provide good laughs(sans sleaze).
Love, Rosie is quaint comfort-cinema that makes for an amiable watch.
Based on the 2012 book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest
Trail, Cheryl Strayed (Witherspoon) heads out on a gruelling 1,100-mile
hike from the border of Mexico right up to the Canadian border to get to
grips with life-altering incidents such as her divorce and the tragic
loss of her mother (Dern). With each determined step, Cheryl inches
closer towards self-realization. Review:
benefits from a simple, strong and straight-ahead storyline; its
multi-linear narrative offers us various perspectives, such as glimpses
into various stages of Cheryl's life prior to the present day, via
flashbacks. These windows into her past about what could have and what
should have been, still torment her. The memories are amplified due to
her solitude, even as she staggers and slogs along the harsh, sun-baked,
rocky road of reality.
Even her impossibly bulky, bulging backpack, under whose weight she
frequently buckles and stumbles, is a metaphor for the cross she
willingly bears. Not surprisingly, and perhaps mercifully, her load gets
lightened along the way, up to a point where, after facing the truth
rather than running away from it, her conscience transcends guilt, fear
and regrets of the past.
The opening scene shows her taking a
breather on a craggy hilltop. Her feet are lacerated and swollen and her
face, a picture of exhaustion-bordering-on-despair. But the flame of
determination still burns bright with the will to soldier on. Cheryl's
ex-husband (Sadoski), whom she's still friends with, encourages her
along the way with thoughtfully-written letters and care packages sent
to rest-stops in advance. Along the way, Cheryl meets various people
ranging from helpful, like the farmer family who notice that she's
starving and give her a hot spare ribs and mashed potato dinner, to
creepy (two horny, drunken hunters) to amiable (fellow hikers to share
laughs and swap stories with).
While the ending seems a bit
hurried and underwhelming, it is Witherspoon who shines throughout. She
is extremely convincing in this stripped-down role, whose character she
appears to have completely and convincingly absorbed.