Month: December 2016

Slumdog Millionaire

Year: 2008
Directed By: Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan
Written By: Simon Beaufoy (screenplay) Vikas Swarup (novel)

RYAN’S REVIEW

I’ve ruined movies by reading the book before but I don’t know that any have been quite as dramatic as this one. I loved this movie when it came out and was so happy when it won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Yet I came across the book, Q&A, sometime later and everything changed. I thought this was a beautiful movie until I realized it was just a chopped up and completely rewritten version of something better.

This movie is a love story, and the source material is not even close to that. The book is a story about revenge, and love is simply an afterthought that is only touched on. This movie that I thought was so great changed everything from the theme to the main character’s name. When I read the book I found this appalling and have since barely been able to sit down and watch the movie.

No movie adapts a book perfectly but the thing is I didn’t just like this book I loved it, actually reading it three or more times before all was said and done. When I went back to this film and really got to see it for what it was I was just so disappointed. I wish I could go back to loving it as I did the first time I saw it but I simply couldn’t.

When I first saw this movie I found it eye opening but my eyes were still closed. As rough and hard as this movie seems it doesn’t hold a candle to what was within the book. The book is so much more tragic and dark. If you think you can imagine horrible things happening in your life I challenge you to read Q&A and see how you measured up. The book is one devastating tragedy after another but it still manages to be entertaining and interesting.

It’s been several years now since I read the book and I admittedly can’t remember a lot from it even after multiple readings. I love to read and I loved this book but it was several dozen books ago and I could use a refresher. The change that annoyed me the most at the time was the name of the main character being changed to simply Jamal. It annoyed me because in the book the name of the character was such a focal point for the story.

In the book the character’s name is Ram Mohammad Thomas because as a child he was left on the doorstep of a church and a priest was left to name him. The priest was unsure what to name him because he did not know the religion of the parents whether it was Hindi, Islam, or Christianity. To prevent conflict from the rivaling religions within the country the priest named him with a combination of all three. This was interesting to me because I didn’t realize how religiously diverse India was. It seemed like an awful thing to scrap from the movie because it was something the American audience could learn from.

This movie is rare in that it is a movie that takes place in India and received a wide release in the US. India has their own film industry and there are few American made films that take place there. That gave this movie an interesting opportunity to enlighten a new audience to life in India. The movie does that to an extent but I feel like the renaming of the main character left out an insight that could have been beneficial.

The collective stories from the life of Ram Mohammad Thomas make for a really interesting book and I would encourage anybody who likes to read to give it a whirl. However if you love this movie then I would suggest staying away from it because the movie will never be the same afterwards. I don’t find this movie worth my time anymore but I would still suggest it to anyone else. I enjoyed the movie enough to add it to the collection before reading the book so there is still plenty to enjoy for the ignorant.

NEXT MOVIE: Small Soldiers (1998)

Iron Man 3

Year: 2013
Directed By: Shane Black
Written By: Drew Pearce and Shane Black

RYAN’S REVIEW

I have been a little obsessed with the MCU lately. Along with Iron Man 2 I revisited this film too as it is the only other movie within the MCU that we didn’t own a copy of. Having not added the second film to the collection I didn’t add this one either because I can’t stand gaps within trilogies even if one of the films isn’t very good. When this movie came out I didn’t think it was good enough to warrant purchasing both films. I thought it was OK when it was released and I’ll maintain that impression after seeing it again. This movie is just OK and far from the best of the bunch when it comes to the 14 movies now within the MCU.

I remember when this film came out the tagline was something like “does the suit make the man or the man make the suit.” That was a huge theme within this movie as Tony again spends far too much time as Tony and not enough as Iron Man. It’s cool that Tony Stark can still be heroic without his armor but I didn’t go see the Iron Man movie to see Tony in James Bond mode outside the Mandarin’s house. I wanted more Iron Man after feeling like the second movie didn’t offer enough Iron Man action either. While I like the second film more now than I did years ago I still feel like this one had a lot more problems.

The problem with the scope of the MCU now has to be making these individual movies when they aren’t all together. For example where is Captain America when the President’s life is being threatened? Where was Iron Man when S.H.I.E.L.D. turned out to be heavily infiltrated by Hydra? Yeah it’s all about budget and contracts and you can’t have every character in every film but that doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t really make sense. We are seeing that change as there is far more crossover with characters these days. I’m totally psyched for the third Thor film as it will feature appearances from both the Hulk and Doctor Strange.

I have always been a fan of Shane Black’s action films from the 90s. While usually credited with writing he has had a hand in many classic action films like Lethal Weapon, Last Action HeroThe Last Boy Scout, and one of my household favorites growing up The Long Kiss Goodnight. He was also the writer for one of my childhood/lifetime favorites The Monster Squad. So I’m a big fan of his work, but I don’t know that this Iron Man film lived up to some of those classics. Getting behind camera this time around Shane Black gave us a cool enough movie but nothing spectacular.

This movie doesn’t have the feel of a real MCU movie barring the presence of MCU characters. For example it doesn’t have a mid credit sequence that alludes to the coming films or future of the MCU. Its setting during the Christmas season for a summer release seemed an odd choice, out of place in the MCU which is usually has no association with holidays.

I think the problems with this movie in general starts with the story. It just isn’t big enough and too isolated to Iron Man specifically. After the second film there should have been more cross over with other characters. For example, Captain America’s third film featured an iconic comic storyline and turned into a huge spectacle. I think they could have put more thought into what to do for Iron Man’s second sequel. Granted you have Don Cheadle on board as War Machine/Iron Patriot but it just doesn’t seem like enough. After introducing Black Widow and featuring Nick Fury in the second movie this one is just too absent of other characters.

I also hate that Ben Kingsley was wasted as a pretend bad guy. He could have been much cooler than what they ultimately got with Guy Pearce. I don’t really care for Guy Pearce and nothing about that changed with this movie. I liked Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2, but felt another rival weapons manufacturer for this movie to be redundant. I did like James Dale Badge as the top henchman. I have been a fan of his since he played Jack Bauer’s partner in season 3 of 24. Ben Kingsley isn’t just a top grade actor but he is capable of playing a great villain, if in any doubt check out this. This movie could have used a little Don Logan if you ask me, such a waste.

I consider this one of the weakest installments to the MCU, not a bad movie but simply not up to par with the other films. It just feels too isolated for a third installment. Tony has too many friends at this point to take on this problem on his own. Even if they couldn’t include other characters somebody else should have at least been referenced with the President’s life at stake. I think this movie is worth your time but it’s far from the top of the pack in the 14 movies now within the MCU.