Friday, September 23, 2016

The Legend of Tarzan doesn't live up to its legacy

Just when you think you've had enough of 2016 summer blockbusters, you come across a film with a recognizable name, but no familiarity with its source material. The Legend of Tarzan (2016) is a movie which would've been better off unproduced.

The Plot: Tarzan and Jane are happily settled in London, but when there's a sudden danger reported in Africa, our protagonist must visit his homeland once more.

The Good and The Bad: I disliked this flick so much that it was difficult for me to find any positivity from it. I reckon that the single saving grace was Samuel L. Jackson's portrayal of George Washington Williams. Jackson showcased humor at the right time. And his sarcasm was spot on just when you'd think there was no hint of versatility in the narrative.

The CGI was bearable, although given its $180 million budget, it could've been better. The animals were sleekly designed and overall the cinematography was average. I preferred the darkened scenes over the lit-up ones. The venture in its 110 minutes duration, heavily relied on style over substance, just like for the casting of the main role.

Alexander Skarsgard looks super awesome as Tarzan yet his acting was like a muscular wax figure had been given the gift of life. Margot Robbie was brilliant as Jane but maybe more so because she suited the role than due to her talent. I was shocked that Christoph Waltz and Djimon Hounsou, both Oscar-nodded actors, wasted their skills in this flick. Waltz looked more like a Bond villain throughout the picture, and Hounsou seemed like he starred just to pass the time as Chief Mbonga.

The script by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer was just bad. There are too many small plotlines incorporated into the central narrative. And not only is the movie's usage of flashbacks generic, but its predictability level is quite high, with the conclusion becoming foreseeable just after the initial hour has passed.

David Yates, the director, should have spent more time adapting the screenplay properly than relying on Jackson and Waltz to shift focus away from the clich├ęs that this feature offered on a grand scale. The characterization was good, the action was moderate, but without a unique take on the story, the end-result was a failure.

The Verdict: To view The Legend of Tarzan as holiday entertainment, and not on a serious note, is the only way it can be watched. It's safe to declare that Hollywood has made Tarzan more of a brand name instead of trying to revive a legacy long forgotten. 

The Rating: 1 out of 4. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Shallows (2016) - A Review

The Shallows (2016) has been generally classified as a horror flick, but it comes out as more of an exhibition of survival.

The Plot: A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills. (IMDb)

The Good: Some years ago I attended a course called Production Practices 1 at my university. There another student asked the professor that what would he do if he had limited resources but wanted to make a proper thriller. The professor told him that if you want to make any kind of feature properly then utilize the resources already at your disposal.

So, that is where The Shallows succeeds brilliantly. It doesn't have much to offer narrative-wise, and by viewing the trailer you could easily see that $17 million as a production cost was intelligently utilized. And the worldwide gross of $99 million ensured that everything paid off. 

These resources not only included the hiring of only one famous thespian, but also that the rest of the cast was smartly included at the right moments. We have Mexican locals as Nancy is an American tourist. And these locals range from the friendly ride-giver, to fellow surfers, and even a drunk middle-aged man (wait for his appearance because it's the funniest sequence in this venture).

Another positive factor is Blake Lively's lead performance as Nancy. Not only does the actress look hot in a bikini but she manages to pull off a strong, will-driven act throughout the 86-minutes duration. The CGI-created shark is also to fear but it's all down to how Nancy will fight to her last breath to survive.

The Bad: However, Anthony Janswinki's script didn't promise more than what you watched in the trailer. Sure, The Shallows has everything a survival picture can offer, but nothing more than what meets the eye. It's a showcase where what you see is ultimately what you get.

The Verdict: In my opinion, I found that The Shallows was not hard to review, but difficult to assign a rating to. If you have high expectations as a veteran viewer then you'll be disappointed, but if you watch it solely for the purpose of entertainment, then it is a satisfying experience.

The Rating: 2.5 out of 4. 

If you favored Blake Lively as a beach blonde then what's your opinion about Paris Hilton?:

20 poems of insatiable lust. Topics range from women in stilettos, the temptations of adultery, infatuations with Persian beauties, Paris Hilton and so much more. Get your copy here: Shadow of your Lust.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Knock Knock (2015) - A Review

There are good home-invasion films, and there are bad ones, but Knock Knock (2015) is satisfyingly original.

Directed by horror veteran Eli Roth (Hostel, Hostel 2, The Green Inferno) with a screenplay co-written by him and two others, this erotic thriller arouses more than just your attention.

Keanu Reeves has the main role and gives the performance of a lifetime. Lagging close behind are Lorenzo Izzo (Roth's real-life wife) and Ana de Armas. The story follows Reeves answering the door on a stormy night to two beautiful strangers. Little does he know that these attractive faces hide psychotic traits. And throughout most of this feature he gets tortured by them.

Acting is simply awesome. The three major characters share a twisted chemistry. And the whole scenario looks and feels so real. Cinematography is top-notch with the house sets chosen beautifully to match the dreadful visual narrative. The pacing balances well with the running time.

However, there is are still flaws: The villains' backgrounds are left unexplored. They are evil but never reveal themselves or why they are tormenting the lead. The conclusion, though unpredictable, leaves a lot to question.

To end with, Knock Knock is a psychological shocker, that will make you hesitant to reply: "Who's there?"

The Rating: 3.5 out of 4.

If you favor erotica in any form of media, then Shadow of your Lust is bound to please.

Description: 20 poems of insatiable lust. Topics range from women in stilettos, the temptations of adultery, infatuations with Persian beauties, Paris Hilton and so much more. An excerpt:

To a kind-hearted man, she is love
But she is The Insatiable
To a below-minded man, she is lust
But she is The Insatiable

Another example:
Your brunette locks, I miss
The snow-white skin, the fulsome and rounded hips
Suffice to say this, I have the kiss
Of a Persian Beauty, on my lips

So, go ahead and dwell into Shadow of your Lust's contents of stimulation, because just like the relief you get from your fantasies, you won't be disappointed.

My 2nd Poetry E-Book!

Friends, I'm pleased to announce that Shadow of your Lust is officially out on Amazon Kindle for only $0.99!

Don't forget to check out the link posted under the cover image above. Most importantly, I'd like to thank all the readers of our blog for giving me the necessary motivation to finally self-publish my sophomore poetry collection!

Happy reading,
Nisar Masoom.