Life Of Pi

Sorry for the delay, meant to post this earlier, but night shift takes its toll on me. On with the blog…

Life-of-Pi-poster

Life Of Pi, the movie which beat The Avengers at the Oscars for special effects, and I know why. The movie is very vivid in colour and depth, which enhances the 3D of the movie, even though I didn’t see it in 3D, I can see from the effects, that it would be effective. Although I did see the short a couple of years ago, and the short is in the movie, with an IMAX expansion, so you can see fish popping out of the walls of the screen boundaries. Ang Lee’s usual flair for beauty enhancing vision has been around for a long time, even in the days of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, so it’s almost expected at this point.

If the Kubrick film, 2001: A Space Odyssey is to be considered a transcendent human experience from the 1960’s detailing the possible rebirth of humanity (as a species), based on outside influence. While Kubrick’s film is very scientific, it’s still very much fantasy with its elements. Much like Pi’s journey through life, is very down to earth and plausible, it’s still very much fantasy, as we see it. If you’ve seen the movie, you know there are two stories he tells, one of which he shows and one of which of fact, that we don’t necessarily need to hear, but can tell has similar elements to his first story. I consider Life Of Pi a bit like 2001, in the sense that you’re suspending your current standards of what is real, and what is possible, with what you believe can be possible and can be achieved through trials and tribulations one can and possibly endure.

Granted we’ve seen survival stories, like Tom Hanks in Castaway, while that detailed one man’s survival on an island with a ball, Life Of Pi is very much the same sort of idea, except without the island, everything is on a boat in the middle of the pacific, where Pi is surrounded by the remaining animals from his parents’ zoo. Not to mention instead of a plane crash its a shipwreck, but that part is minor in the grand scheme of the plot similarities.

Unlike those movies that are grounded in reality, where we believe what we see, because it’s very plausible, and probable as to what someone would do in those situations. Life Of Pi has all the elements of discovery, loss, reinvention and faith of spirit rolled into one. I say faith of spirit, as Pi’s journey teaches us, that religion can be adopted and melded with others in a newer form of spirituality. I, myself have a similar sort of belief system, while Pi uses the polytheistic system, where all the gods are separate, different people.

Where as mine is much more monotheistic, in the sense that god may have many names, but is really one being just facilitating the needs and functions associated with the religion as people perceive them, at least in the sense of other monotheistic religions, but because I don’t follow any particular religion, I prefer to just have a spectator’s view of the religions as a whole, so certain details will be probably in error or misinterpretation and I apologise for that. I’m not trying to question others faith or start a huge discussion here, this is just what I think on the subject and it’s just one person’s opinion.

Anyway, back to the movie. The cast does an excellent job of making us believe they are who they’re playing. We see all the emotions of the characters exuding through the actors. Ang Lee’s direction is also very noteworthy, nothing is obscured, and nothing left out, we see everything happening to Pi, the only things we don’t see in detail are the computer generated death scenes. There is no blood in the movie, at least in terms of real blood, and very little CG blood. As the colour would mess with the overall beauty of the movie’s more flourescent colour scheme. Which is not a bad thing, considering the only 2 scenes we see such death involve the Tiger anyway, we still feel the emotion from such acts as we’re meant to.

The movie is an awesome fantasy thrill ride, showing faith in one’s beliefs in a positive way. Now whether or not its faithful to its source material is by no means up to me, since I have yet to read its original book. All I do know is, this is a beautiful film, that anyone can see and enjoy. Definitely worth a rental at least, and if you want to buy it, by all means, it’s definitely worth a re-watch. I was pushed into this film by those I work with, they kept going on and on about it, so I took some time out of my day and watched it before going into work again.

Also, I might do A Good Day To Die Hard, but I’m waiting for DVD, as from seeing others reviews, and how bad it’s doing on Rotten Tomatoes, my enthusiasm has left me in terms of how bad it is. So I’ll eventually get to it.

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Gangster Squad… and some updates

Hello All, sorry for the delay, but I’ve gotten a job which tends to eat up a good chunk of my normal sleep time, so sleep was pushed to my normal blog time. This will be changing quite frequently, so expect Blogs to be posted at pretty much any time of day, whenever I am able to. Also, if you notice on the right side of my blog, you can now view the thoughts I have on things and whatever else is feeding into my Twitter.

On to tonight’s review: Gangster Squad.

gangster squad poster

Being adapted from a novel, one would think it might try to be like the novel, however. From the director’s previous films, it’s actually something of a fun, popcorn flick. Giving us just enough of a plot and depth to keep us interested, but not driving off some people by being boring. Everything you expect from the trailer, you get in the movie. They could’ve gone hard R with its rating, or 18A if you’re in Canada, but no they went with the 14A rating in Canada, and as I call it, Soft R in the states. Being another MPAA oversight in terms of what’s acceptable to a PG13 audience. Granted there are a couple of shots that show some gruesome-ness, but they’re cutaway shots. I’m not really complaining, that’s just a point I want to mention, since the MPAA are stuck in the 1950’s sometimes.

If I’m going to do a movie about war on a gangster, I would’ve said screw the MPAA, since they’re going to give me an R rating anyway, and I’ll go nuts with the violence and gore, more than we got. Granted it was quite a bit in the movie, but if there is an unrated cut with more scenes, or longer scenes, I’d probably catch that version. The movie is still worth your time and the 5 bucks you may spend on a Tuesday. With this out-of-the-way, as it’s just a minor point I have about the MPAA these days. On with the movie.

The movie presents itself in a very stylish manner, which is nice to see once in a while. It wasn’t nuts with style and flash, it gives you more than the usual, but keeps itself grounded in reality with practical stunts and good camera work. Cars don’t go insanely flipping over like that of an action movie or science fiction, where you sometimes see a CO2 cannon mounted on the bottom of the car and we see a cloud of gas shooting out of the bottom to make the car flip in an insane way. In this movie, we have period correct cars, in action scenes where any flips or rolls, are not huge, insane effects, but just as they sound, a basic car flip, and roll. Which I like in a movie, giving it some realism.

The actors do a hell of a job keeping us interested in the light story we’re given, and show us exactly what we’re supposed to see. Being a writer, I could spot certain instances where particular characters will be joining the fight, even if they previously said no. Ryan Gosling’s character is the one I mention, as we’ve seen his “inciting incident” in the trailer. *Spoiler* if you haven’t seen the trailer, but he previously turns down Josh Brolin’s character for special assignment to the Gangster Squad. We also know that he is very much-needed, as in one instance they make a terrible mistake making a move on a place of interest, and failing miserably. Then the inciting incident happens for Gosling’s character and his motivation to do something about the crime in the city and be an honest cop again kicks in. He then decides to join the squad, and the team is set.

Brolin is an extremely talented actor, showing us that his character’s true colours are that of a fighter and a hero. Now when I say hero as a colour, it’s that instinct one has that says “I don’t like the world around me, things seem wrong, morally and I feel the need to change it.” Its the whole questioning part of one’s psyche. His wife objects to him being the ruthless cop he is, just wanting a quiet life. Kinda seems a bit cliché, but its the 50’s, what do you expect.

Sean Penn is awesome as always, choosing his roles well and delving deep into them. He’s perfect for the role of Mickey Cohen. Not to mention everyone else in this movie. Even Nick Nolte, whom we can all tell is getting up there in years and his smoking has really done a number on his voice. The rest of the cast does great work, not to mention Robert Patrick’s character being something straight out of a western and does a hell of a job too.

As the movie progresses, some character’s don’t seem to fit, at least with the general premise of the movie, as Brent thought Emma Stone’s character only seemed to fit as being the witness in the end, but I found she was the continuing drive or ambition for Gosling’s character to continue to work with the Gangster Squad, as their characters grow closer.

In terms of this movie being style over substance, I don’t see it really, granted yes there is more style than substance, but it doesn’t suffer from it, like the critics say. Which is why it has that divide on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences like it, while critics bash it, seems to be a theme with some movies. Granted it’s not like the live action Resident Evil movies which are really Style over Substance. I find if I want to watch another RE movie, I’ll watch the CG ones, like Degeneration and Damnation.

So in terms of Gangster Squad, I would say its a good movie, not a fantastic one. As I said to Brent in the theatre, if LA Confidential is AAA, this is a solid A. Definitely something to watch to be entertained. So give it a watch, also, there will be a review to “A Good Day To Die Hard” as I’ll be seeing that, since I’m a Bruce Willis fan, after all.