New movies to check out this season

First Man

Genre:Drama, biography, history

Released:October 11, 2018

 First Man follows American astronaut Neil Armstrong over the nine years leading up to his historic trip to the Moon on July 20, 1969. As Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon — the film traces his state of mind during those tumultuous years of personal loss and professional hurdles.

Review:Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash), the youngest recipient of the Best Director Oscar, reunites with Ryan Gosling and music composer Justin Hurwitz to deliver a heart pounding emotional drama. This spiritual nail-biter alternates between Armstrong’s life on ground and in space to understand the man behind the name, fame and glory.  Based on James R. Hansen’s book, the film is essentially a cathartic human drama and not a commercial space adventure as one would assume. Chazelle’s storytelling masterfully juxtaposes Armstrong’s grief, thrill and uncertainty in a way that commands your unflinching attention. From nerve-racking space turbulence to deafening silences, Justin Hurwitz’s melancholic yet liberating score stirs the soul. Brilliantly crafted and hypnotic from beginning to end, First Man is a stunning piece of work that leaves you thinking about it, way after it’s over.

A Star is Born

Genre:Drama, musical romance

Released:October 4, 2018

 A famous musician struggling with his personal demons is inspired by a talented singer who has given up on her dreams of making it big, and decides to help her career.

Review: Originally made in 1937, with remakes in 1954 and 1976, this is the fourth version of ‘A Star is Born’. ‘Aashiqui 2’ (2013) is also based on the same story. But director Bradley Cooper, who co-wrote the screenplay, reconstructs the film for the present age. He focuses on each character’s emotional journeys and the impact they have as they intersect. A musical works best when its songs go beyond sheer entertainment value and add emotional depth to the narrative. This tale transcends generations and languages because it ticks a lot of storytelling boxes – a famous star on a downward spiral; an underdog overcoming adversity to make it big; two talented people who can’t help falling in love with each other – we’ve seen variations of them all, several times before. Jackson Maine, (Bradley Cooper) is a famous country-rock star who performs at sold-out stadiums. But the rest of the world doesn’t see how his alcoholism has a taken a toll on him over the years. On a drinking binge after a concert, Jack comes across Ally (Lady Gaga) at a bar and is impressed by her singing. Ally confesses that despite her undeniable talent she’s been told she doesn’t look good enough to make it big in the music industry. Inspired by her, Jack works on one of her original compositions, coaxes Ally to perform with him live on-stage, and the resounding praise they receive launches Ally’s career. The two also fall in love with each other, but Jack’s addiction catches up with them along the way.

Venom

Genre: Thriller, Science fiction

Released:October 4, 2018

 A bold reporter’s desperate attempt to redeem his career backfires when he is infected by a parasite who brings out his vicious alter-ego.

Review:Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is an intrepid journalist, who doesn’t know when to hold back, and this costs him dearly when he loses his job and more. His mistake? Taking on Carlton Drake – a businessman who considers himself to be a visionary, albeit with sketchy morals. Not to be outdone, Brock tries to probe into Drake’s shady activities when he encounters a mind-reading extra-terrestrial being that fuses with him giving him extraordinary powers. Brock is now left to choose how he uses his newfound abilities. If there was any doubt that Tom Hardy was best suited to take on the dual personalities of Venom/ Eddie Brock, they quickly dissipate once the interplay between the two begins. Hardy has handled roles that require him to juggle between personas, and he demonstrates all his prior experience here. Once ‘possessed’, Hardy infuses a playful yet dark aura to Brock that works well to bring some frenetic vigour to the film.

Smallfoot

Genre:Fantasy, musical

Released:September 28, 2018

A determined Yeti embarks on a journey as he explores the world beyond his small village to prove to his community that humans do exist.

Review:Adapted from the book Yeti Tracks by Sergio Pablos, Smallfoot explores the world of the Yetis — often referred to as mythical creatures because of the ambiguity that surrounds their existence. In the film, the Yeti community leads a sheltered life, nestled away on a snowy mountain top, above the clouds in the Himalayas. Migo (voiceover Channing Tatum) is a happy-go-lucky Yeti, who is happy to follow his father Dorgle’s (voiceover Danny DeVito) footsteps in becoming the village’s future gong ringer. One day he accidentally runs into a human and is amazed to discover that a ‘smallfoot’ really does exist. The news is met with scepticism and incredulity by the tribe’s leader Stonekeeper (voiceover Common), who banishes Migo from the village. The rest of the film follows the gentle giant’s journey as he searches for the elusive smallfoot and the adventures undergoes as he discovers humans and their way of life.

The unlikely friendship between Migo and the human Percy (voiceover James Corden) is heart-warming as both come to terms with the other’s quirks and character traits, and discover the meaning of true friendship.The animation is delightful without being over the top and the makers give out two messages to children — the film’s main audience — that if you persevere and set your mind to something, you can achieve it no matter how many roadblocks you encounter. And no matter what has happened in the past, humans can co-exist with other species if they really want to. It also makes one question whether being blissfully unaware is a boon or bane. With catchy songs and fun moments, the film is enjoyable although the length does get a little tedious towards the end. The script is pretty straightforward and will keep kids entertained although it may not find many adult takers.

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