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.

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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

Camp X-Ray (2014)

Camp X-Ray (2014) – Review

The movie is about a young soldier whose very first assignment is to be a guard at a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay. They (the soldiers) are told that their job is not to make sure that the detainees don’t break out, but instead, it is to keep the detainees alive.

Initially, the soldier Amy Cole (portrayed by Kristen Stewart) is met with cold behavior, hatred, violence from the detainees at the detention camp, but later on she learns and manages to survive. In the process she develops an unusual bonding with one of the detainees who had been there for 8 years. The detainee Ali Amir (portrayed by Peyman Moaadi) treats Amy with hostility in all the inhumane ways possible; but later on grows fond of talking to her, and at times manages to find humor in serious situations!

In the end, it turned out to be a learning experience for both of them. Apart from having a political and controversial situation as a backdrop, the movie gives a beautiful message about humanity. As an audience, we get to see both sides of the prison and get a chance to understand what they go through (both detainees and soldiers/guards).

My view: It’s so easy to end your life and get rid of all the problems at once. But it’s so so difficult to give someone a reason to live, when there is none. It takes courage; to do what Amy (Kristen) did in the movie. You need a heart to feel the pain of another especially when that other person is supposed to be your “enemy”. Having empathy for a person, for whom you can never even begin to imagine what he has gone through, is tougher than it looks. The act of kindness, the words spoken, that scene in the end, the final conversation between the soldier and the detainee – just amazing. When a young person shows such maturity in such a situation where even most experienced people might panic, that’s commendable. When such words are spoken from heart, it only restores your faith in humanity once again. You just have to see it to feel it.

Both Kristen and Peyman did justice to their roles and the storyline. And guys, please give Kristen a break! Stop saying she just has one expression. It’s not her fault! She takes such kind of roles, what can be done!! On the contrary, this performance ought to change the way most people look at her – from the girl-next-door to a serious actor. Also, the first time director Peter Sattler has done a brilliant job. Couldn’t tell it was his directorial debut.

Worth a watch. 7.5 out of 10.

August: Osage County (2013)

August: Osage County (2013) – Review

As soon as i learnt that this movie features Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts together, i instantly decided i wanna watch it no matter what! Obviously because both are considered amongst great female actors of Hollywood, who would want to miss this one. Cast includes Abigail Breslin (of Little Miss Sunshine fame) who used to be my fav child artiste, is suddenly a grown up now! But she is playing a 14 year old in the movie in spite of being 18 years old in real life. The three actresses look perfect for the role of three generations – grandmother, mother and granddaughter. Also there is Benedict Cumberbatch who is supposedly a raved about actor due to him playing the role of Sherlock Holmes. I mean yeah he is indeed a good actor but what’s the mayhem about his looks and all, i don’t understand! In the cast there is a long list including Dermot Mulroney (of My Best Friend’s Wedding and Wedding Date fame) and Julianne Nicholson (more of a TV series actor) amongst others.

Movie is based on a Pulitzer Prize winning play of same name by Tracy Letts. The story revolves around the fact that the whole Weston family (three sisters and their extended family) has to come together after the news of their father’s disappearance, and from there on they have to stick together in this unusual crisis of a situation which keeps getting out of hand. They have to just endure each other’s presence; especially their mother’s who is not well in more than one ways. She is a mouth-cancer patient who is addicted to drugs and pills of all kinds; and ironically she is a smoker too. Then they get to know that their father has died (committed suicide probably). There is a funeral and afterwards, such things unfold which no one could ever imagine. The three generations viz a viz Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts (one of the sisters) and Abigail are just perfect fits for their roles and also complement each other in every way. Talking about the three generations, i could somewhat draw certain similarities between the three of them. Like mother like daughter; like grandmother like granddaughter!

Surely i didn’t expect the movie to be so serious. The comedy is too dark to be laughed at, the story line keeps getting tangled and more intense which has just left me speechless. But one thing is undeniable. All the actors have given brilliant powerful performances and Meryl Streep is undoubtedly beyond perfection. New found respect for her. Same for Julia Roberts, she is just amazing as well.

My point of view about the movie would be that it depicts very bluntly the sort of behaviour different people would portray at the time of utmost misery. Everyone behaves differently and reacts in a different manner to various things like fatal disease, loss, death, estrangement etc. The kind of person you are is truly reflected by the way you behave while you are grieving. This, i believe, is the essence of the movie. At one point i almost got a little heart attack watching the reactions that are shown in the movie, which is a tad bit over exaggerated, but at the same time very realistic and extremely blatant; almost at the verge of being scary. At the end, its all about choices, priorities, mistakes, emotions, good, bad, ugly…everything what life is all about.

A must watch family drama. I would give it 8 out of 10.