Gone Girl the movie was a very different experience from Gone Girl the novel

Bhaskar Chanda Gone Girl Movie ReviewGillian Flynn’s novel dives deep down into the fears — both rational and irrational — that come with a significant romantic relationship. The primary fear, in short, is that the person on the other side of the bed could be someone entirely different from who you’ve come to love and know. Or, just as scary, that your significant other could turn into someone entirely different than he or she is today.

It’s a frightening thought, and it’s what drives the novel forward as the we parse character-revealing entries from Amy’s diary and keep tabs on Nick’s investigation. It is only through Flynn’s intricate weaving of the Amy-Nick relationship that we are lulled into a bubble of belief. We come to trust the Nick’s narration and Amy’s diary so much that their big reveals (spoiler: Amy’s faked death and Nick’s affair) are so surprising that they pop our belief bubble suddenly and viciously.

It is this moment of discovery, of figuring out that the narrators are not to be trusted, that makes the novel a complete thrill and makes Gone Girl the movie a letdown by comparison. Sure, the film still delivers most of the plot intact. It even gives us much of the novel’s dialogue quote for quote. But the impact of these quotes is so different because we aren’t given the same backstory that Flynn provides in her novel.

Bhaskar Chanda Gone GirlAmy’s fake diary reveal is a real “wow” moment in the novel but David Fincher’s film treats it instead as one of many pieces of a puzzle that Amy has devised for her grand plan. It still comes off as impressive in the film, but it doesn’t have nearly the same impact. Even Amy’s famous “cool girl” rant has a different, and somewhat less satisfying appeal in the film than in the novel. Whereas the novel offers that speech as an intriguing and impressive critique against unrealistic relationship expectations, the movie delivers it less as a societal critique and more as a feminist rant against “stupid” women.

Yes, Gone Girl the film still gives a fascinating depiction of the engaging Flynn tale. It still builds the fake storyline and gives gives the same (or similar) plot twists. It still makes us ask how much we know about our partners. But it doesn’t feel real and it certainly doesn’t give us the same satisfaction or jaw-dropping delivery that Flynn’s novel does. If you read the novel, you’ll still enjoy the film, but you’ll be left with an empty hole of disappointment that only Flynn’s writing can fill. 3/5 Stars

Matthew McConaughey’s Potential Oscar Performance in Interstellar

Bhaskar Chanda Film ReviewThis last month’s movie roundup has been outstanding, and Interstellar might be the one to top them all. With a star-studded cast behind Christopher Nolan, this movie is nothing short of spectacular. One of the most intellectually stimulating movies I’ve seen in a long time.

The cast is made up of Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, and Matt Damon; all who brought their A-game with remarkable acting. Matthew McConaughey is expected to win the Oscar with his performance as Cooper, an x-NASA pilot turned farmer. Cooper is living with his son, daughter, and father-in-law. His daughter thinks that a ghost is trying to communicate with her, and Cooper eventually conducts experiments that figures out that aliens from the future are using a wormhole to communicate with his daughter. This sends Cooper and a team of NASA pilots through an interstellar adventure through a wormhole to find a potentially habitable planet for humanity’s sake.

Christopher Nolan might potentially win an Oscar as well. This movie kept me at the edge of my seat the entire time, which is especially impressive since the movie was almost three hours long. Matthew McConaughey is on a role of recent. He was almost the only actor to have won a “best actor” Oscar (for Dallas Buyers Club) and Emmy (for True Detective). He lost his Emmy to the fantastic Bryan Cranston for his role as Walter White in Breaking Bad, debatably one of the better performances of the decade. Anything with Matthew McConaughey these days is a must see, and Interstellar is no different.

This is just the Sci-Fi/Action Adventure film that you want to see when going to a movie along with an added intellectualism that you don’t see with many movies of the sort. This movie did not only keep me entertained on a basic level, but also kept my mind intellectually stimulated at the same time. 4.8/5 stars.

The Drop

Bhaskar Chanda film reviews the dropThe Drop is a crime drama starting Tom Hardy and late James Gandolfini. Tom Hardy plays a lonely barkeeper, Bob Saginowski, that keeps to himself. James Gandolfini plays the bar owner, Marv, who is Bob’s cousin and powerful figure in the neighborhood.

The premise of the movie is based off of old time Brooklyn, where bars would act as holding areas for all the dirty money in the city. These would called “money drops” and the bars were called “drop spots.” Bob and Marv find themselves in the middle of a robbery that gets federal agents involved. One thing leads to another and the federal agents begin to dig deeper into the local underworld of the Brooklyn bar scene.

It is difficult to watch a gangster related film with James Gandolfini without imagining him as Tony Soprano. James Gandolfini is a great actor, and this was unfortunately his last movie. The role that he was put in was almost like a softer version of Tony Soprano, but he still played the part well and brought chills down my spine.

Tom Hardy played a good awkward introvert. He did not say much, and a lot of his lines seems a bit forced and out of the ordinary. Tom Hardy definitely had the leading role. Because of this, the movie followed the pace of his character: slow and awkward. There were too few pivotal moments and the slow buildups did not seem worth the muster.

Overall, I would suggest that people do not go see this movie. The story seemed a little introverted, as it almost acted like a character development film of a mundane protagonist. I will not give away the entire movie, but if you are deciding weather to see this in theaters or wait until a free version comes out online, I would chose the latter. This movie is not worth paying for. 2/5 Stars

The Grand Budapest Hotel is Another Wes Anderson Success

Bhaskar Chanda The Grand Budapest HotelThe Grand Budapest Hotel is another smash hit from the quirky, peculiar director, Wes Anderson. In typical Wes Anderson fashion, each character has their own unique story that leads them through a series of chaotic adventures. This story takes us back in time, where “the richest man in the world,” Zero Moustafa, tells the story of how he made his fortune to the local hotel concierge.

The story follows an extraordinary concierge, M. Gustave, at one of the most famous European hotels, The Grand Budapest Hotel. M. Gustave is played by Ralph Fiennes. His most trusted ally is the young Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy, played by Tony Revolori. Zero quickly becomes M. Gustave’s assistant, which puts him in the middle of protecting an enormous family fortune when M. Gustave becomes the hair to the most expensive paining in the world. Amidst this time of war and crisis, Zero and M. Gustave are forced to team up and protect what is rightfully theirs from jealous and psychopathic family members.

Throughout the rest of the film, irreverent chase scenes and chaotic calmers of humor fill the time. A more extroverted style taken by Wes Anderson, as while there is still plenty of internal character development, there seems to be a lot more going on outside of each characters little world. There is a broader sense of history and outside forces, while many of his films delve into the interworking’s of a unique character.

Ralph Fiennes plays a spectacular conceded, pompous concierge while Tony Revolori fills the role of the quiet, nervous lobby assistant. Willem Dafoe plays one of the psychopathic relatives to the enormous family fortune. He is great in this role as he does not say much and uses his menacing face to do most of the talking.

Overall, this movie is another must watch, as another one of Wes Anderson’s zany stories is a homerun. 4.5/5 Stars

Mistaken For Strangers Review

Mistaken For Strangers (2014)

Directed by Tom Berninger, featuring Matt Berninger, Tom Berninger, Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Bryan Devendorf,  and Scott Devendorf.

bhaskar chanda mfsTom Berninger’s Mistaken For Strangers is so much more than your average, run-of-the-mill rock doc–it’s a generous and vulnerable contemplation on family, success, and happiness, and a bold statement about what music documentaries are for. The premise is simple: Matt Berninger, frontman of indie smash hit and critical darling The National, invites his brother Tom to come on the band’s largest tour yet as a roadie. An aspiring filmmaker (if he aspires to anything at all), Tom brings his camera along in hopes of making a documentary based on his impressions of a ten-year-old band as their popularity is soaring. What follows is a profoundly funny and touchingly sincere portrait of two brothers as different as different can be. Amongst beautifully captured clips of performances in exotic cities and cameos by celebrity fans, we get to go behind-the-scenes of behind-the-scenes and see Tom’s fumbling in both of his duties, as a roadie and as a filmmaker. He asks bemused band members inane questions, or instructs them to pose and recite goofy phrases he’s come up with. The result, while perhaps not being the performance-minded rock and roll saga many National fans might clamor for, in the end manages to capture the similarities between the two brothers and the art they create. In many ways, Mistaken For Strangers is a film equivalent of a National album–it’s shabby and unglamorous and as it turns inward, it doesn’t hide from the dark. 4/5 stars.

Dallas Buyers Club Review

bhaskar chanda dallasDallas Buyers Club (2013)

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, screenplay by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Griffin Dunne, Steve Zahn, and Dennis O’Hare.

One of the strongest contenders in this year’s Oscar race is Jean-Marc Vallée’s latest masterpiece. Loosely adapted from the real life story of Ron Woodroof, the film tells the story of a promiscuous drug addict and homophobe who contracts full blown HIV/AIDS in in the mid 1980s. All but killed by AZT, the only FDA-approved AIDS medication on the market, Woodroof starts smuggling non-toxic alternatives which have yet to be approved in the states, and eventually sells them to other patients for profit. The picture is one part complex character study and one part chilling indictment of the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry. McConaughey plays Woodroof with captivating detail and overflowing intensity, having lost 47 lbs for the role. Jared Leto is also pitch perfect as Rayon, a transgender patient who eventually warms his way into Woodroof’s heart. While the film will most certainly be passed over for the Best Picture Award (Twelve Years A Slave is viewed as more important and Gravity as more technically impressive) but it nevertheless is a captivating and gut-wrenching film which sends a vital message to American and international audiences, and it will probably pick up at least an acting award or two–and will definitely deserve it. 5/5 stars.