Men, Women & Children (2014)

Men, Women & Children (2014) – Review

Discover How Little You Know,
About The People You Know

Men, women and children – all react differently in similar or different circumstances. To add to that confusion, we have got technology! All sorts of gadgets, inventions, internet itself pose great problems; some of which can be seen or predicted, while others are just unimaginable. Just as everything has its pros and cons, so does technology. It can help in communication and certain situations but where social media and virtual world is concerned, it can mostly add to troubles and disharmony in all kinds of relationships.

The movie revolves around the lives of a bunch of high school teenage students and their parents. Tim Mooney the football star quits the team. Tim (played by Ansel Elgort whom I just loved in the movie like i loved him in ‘The Fault in Our Stars’) is faced with a lot of criticism for his decision from everyone and loses his friends too. He starts interacting with a girl Brandy (played by Kaitlyn Dever) whose mom Patricia (Jennifer Garner) takes the expression “tracking your children online” way too seriously. Don and Helen Truby (Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt respectively) are parents trapped in a sex-less marriage. And two-three more story lines are there. All are intertwined and cross each other’s path because of the same high school the kids go to. The movie takes a look at how the lives of these people (they themselves, their relationships and love life), is being affected by the Internet. “Everyone is searching for a better connection.” (Another tagline)

The movie has a weird and bizarre beginning. Initially I thought the title could have been better but it is based on a novel of same name by Chad Kultgen. So in the movie there is someone in the background narrating the story line; I thought it is a documentary style thing, but then I realised that’s the sound of the narrator we have on all our computers! Quite apt to the theme, must say. That is the level up to which our lives have become dependent on the technology. This comedy-drama film is directed by Jason Reitman who has done a decent job. The ensemble cast, each and everyone in the movie is convincing and have strong on-screen presence. Everyone has done full justice to their roles and gave a real feel to the characters with which the audience can connect.

download1-431x520

Watching this movie, made me realize a lot of things:

[This might be a drag; a lot of people might not gather this much from the movie, this is solely my perception and inference]

  1. I don’t know everything about everything! : discovered various short forms, had to look up certain things for reference, gained knowledge about an online role-playing game (world of warcraft) which I think was talked about a lot in big bang theory; but I never really bothered. The impacts this game could have on teenagers (even adults) – is a different debate altogether.
  2. School is tough on everyone: no matter whether you are the most popular, most unpopular or just a regular student, every teenager is struggling. Every teenager has pressure of one thing or the other. And it’s not related to studies at all.
  3. Too much porn could lead to ED : well that could have been subjective; but one shouldn’t take the risk. Right now I am avoiding explaining this in detail. (explained in the movie though!)
  4. Loneliness attracts loneliness : if a person is alone and they see another loner; they are likely to bond. Might be the understanding of each other’s situation angle, or something, but it sure happens. A lot.
  5. Teenagers want to lose their virginity, just for the heck of it : pretty self-explanatory, but I wonder if this applies to teenagers all over the world and not just America? So yes that gives us the problem of teenage pregnancy.
  6. Sex isn’t everything : in a relationship, other things are important – connection, understanding, conversations, bonding, feeling of ‘being at peace’ when you are with your significant other, knowing when the other needs you and being there, and most importantly, having so much trust in your partner that you are comfortable being yourself in front of them.
  7. Parenting is awful lot difficult, much more than it seems to be : knowing what’s good and what’s bad, when to be a friend and when to behave like a parent again, making choices on their behalf, taking decisions, how much is too much?, where to draw the line?, keep a check all the time, when to let go and when to hold on tight; doing all this plus own work plus house work, and being sane – all at the same time.wow!
  8. Not every person is a monster on the internet : ought to keep this in mind while trying to protect your daughter from the cyber bullies/crimes/bad guys.
  9. Not everything is meant for the internet : although this I already knew, but haven’t known always (or forget sometimes?). So a good point to mention.
  10. Intimacy in marriage is highly required : not only sex, intimacy plays an important role in keeping alive a marriage. The little things that eventually lead to sex? Yeah, don’t stop doing them just because it’s been hell lot of years to your marriage. Try and keep the spark alive, rekindle all the magic you always have had. Try out new things or at least don’t stop doing the old ones! Most of the issues can be resolved through discussion. If it doesn’t work, try again and always think of the consequences or chances of getting caught if any time ‘cheating’ crosses you mind. Just make sure you make them feel SPECIAL always.
  11. Don’t ignore the real life (RL) people for virtual ones: just because you have access to internet/social media, doesn’t mean you should ignore the people in front of you in RL.
  12. Communicate. Face to face. : Due to technology and addiction to chatting, people have forgotten how it’s like to have a real conversation. So if you don’t talk, you don’t get to know the person. Hence the very apt tagline.

Besides this, as they say “excess of everything is bad”; same rule applies to technology as well. We have to do our own moral policing and set limits (for children as well). Control is very important. That’s the only way we can save ourselves and our loved ones.

This movie is so underrated.

I would call this movie an eye opener on how technology (internet) has screwed up our lives more than it has helped to make it better.

A must watch. I am going to give this movie 9/10

This Is Where I Leave You (2014)

This Is Where I Leave You (2014) – Review

A comedy drama film, based on a novel of same name by Jonathan Tropper, is about the Altman family coming together under same roof after the funeral of their father.

Plot (reminds of August: Osage County). Everyone is having a bad day or bad time, suffering through bad relationships and problems of their own. First of all we get to see Judd Altman (Jason Bateman) who caught his wife cheating on him with his boss! He is now divorced, out of work, and to top it all receives the news of his dad passing away. Now he has to meet his entire family after a long time which is a task in its own. His sister Wendy (Tina Fey) is married and has two kids, shares a bond with Judd and youngest brother Peter as well, since she practically raised him. Wendy was in love with their neighbour when she was young but had to part ways after they got in an accident and the guy suffered a major head injury.

The eldest brother Paul is married to Annie who is Judd’s ex. Paul and Annie are trying to have a baby since a long time and facing difficulties. Hell breaks loose on Annie when she finds out that even Judd’s ex wife is pregnant! Judd also had a past with one of the neighbourhood girls Penny. Peter also helped Judd getting close to Penny. Peter brought his to be fiancé who is apparently his previous therapist. Everybody thinks Peter to be a child and the most irresponsible, immature of the lot. Nobody takes him seriously.

The mom Hilary is kind of whacko who tells everyone that it was their father’s last wish to sit shiva for him (as they are a Jewish family), and it’s supposed to be 7 days long!

The movie is hilarious having some moments here and there of its own. So the family who can barely stand each other, hadn’t been in contact with each other for ages, were supposed to spend the next seven days, under one roof with each other. The challenge was to bear each other’s spouses, exes, would be’s, could be’s and all. It becomes a madhouse. How well they manage it, what surprises and shocks come along, what changes and what stays the same, watch to find out. Over all 6.5 out of 10. (Mainly because of the humor factor – brainless comedy!)

PS – If you have already watched August :Osage County then you can skip this one. You aren’t missing anything, seriously!

Authors Anonymous (2014)

Authors Anonymous (2014) – Review

SPOILER ALERT !!!!

Interesting title, apart from the fact that Kaley Cuoco (who plays the role of gorgeous Penny in popular series ‘The Big Bang Theory’) is starring in the movie and is one of the exec-producers as well! Also starring Chris Klein, we have seen him in American Pie movie series before. The movie is said to be a comedy, excuse me?! What kind of comedy, dark? Cynical? Perhaps yes. It can very well be classified as the satirical composition and collection of a few unpublished authors who come together and form a sort of support group to help and inspire one another in the otherwise lonesome journey of a writer. There is a reason why a writer is supposed to go alone. As in the event of one’s success and others’ well, same condition, they can’t possibly be happy for each other. Jealousy creeps in and ego clashes are bound to happen. This fact is shown in the movie distinctively.

The movie is apparently being filmed as a documentary which in the beginning seems to be a turn off and immediately took my interest level down. But after a few minutes it gets picked up. We see a group called “authors anonymous” (decent ensemble cast), which was formed by an eye doctor and the members were in fact his patients at some point, including his wife. The common thing between them being – they all are writers who are unpublished. The newest member of the group is Hannah (played by Kaley) who is smart, seems hard-working but doesn’t know much about the work of any other author. She isn’t well read as she never attended college but she wants to be a writer and even her mom supports her now. A guy in the group, Henry (played by Chris Klein), is interested in Hannah for all the obvious reasons. Henry seems a bit geeky type, who has read almost every famous novel out there, especially the classics, and dreams of making it big one day; like everyone else. Now at this point, I cant help but draw similarities or comparisons with The Big Bang Theory again, where the lead pair of Penny and Leonard have similar characteristics to that of Hannah and Henry shown in the movie.

Nevertheless, the story continues, and we get to know more about each struggling writer, and the never-ending efforts they show in contacting various publishers and getting rejected n-number of times yet never giving up. So one fine day, Hannah finally gets hold of a publisher who liked one of her novels, ‘Sleeping on The Moon’ which by the way is a metaphor, which Hannah herself is unable to explain properly when asked to! Wonder how she wrote the entire book! Because of this reason (and several other perhaps), none of the people in the group take this news sportively; although they try to do so in the beginning. Henry was genuinely happy for Hanna’s success and probably the only one in the group to think and tell Hanna that she deserves this and more.

Eventually, Hanna’s Book gets published and also gets movie rights worth a lot, which shatters the patience and pretense of the group members that they have had been depicting. They begin showing their true jealousy, and as a result, the group is on the verge of splitting up. The movie definitely tries to bring out the lighter side of this mess but in the end fails to do so.

All in all it tries to show different kind of writers, their individual struggle, how they behave in a group trying to support each other, being a critic for each others’ work, pointing out good and bad things, how they handle one person’s success and take it as their own failure, what all each one of them do to get published before the other…so on and so forth. It becomes a kind of mini competition that started within the group itself. Towards the end, everyone started saying the truth out loud (almost all). Some of it came as a shock! Surely teaches a thing or two.

The guy Henry is said to have a writer’s block for about 2 years or so. Reason being, and everybody knows, that he has been concentrating on being with Hannah and trying to get close to her. Everyone, including Hannah, tries to make Henry realize that he should concentrate on his writing and nothing else. Writing comes first, no distractions. But this became possible only when Henry saw Hannah with a famous author and that she is now in a live-in relationship with that author, claiming that he is making her a better writer. At this point, Henry realizes that he was wasting his time and again starts writing. Later on he finds a girl who is genuinely interested in him and shares his interests and love for classic novels alike. In the end he gets published as well.

Acting wise, it was not bad I would say. Served the story well, as chemistry between the group members was quite funny with a little comedy element in a few scenes. At certain points, the story gets dragged or some people did over acting which was really unnecessary. Apart from that it was an ok movie. Certainly, for an abstract story line, there was a lot of potential but the movie failed to explore any of that. It could have been better, as you won’t find anything in the movie, which is unexpected or out of the ordinary.

Watch it at your own risk, it’s just an average film. Still I would give it 5 out of 10.