Sunday, 15 November 2015

Movie Reviews (Mr Holmes, Ant-Man, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, Minions, It's Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong)

I saw 5 movies on the flight from Sydney to Zurich, 3 on the 14 hour flight from Sydney to Dubai, and 2 on the 7 hour flight from Dubai to Zurich.

Mr Holmes:

This Ian McKellan-starrer starts with a very interesting premise. Sherlock Holmes is old, living alone in the country with a housekeeper and her young son, and is losing his memory, so much so that he cannot even remember why he retired 30 years earlier. He's vaguely aware that a case that was documented as a success by Doctor Watson was in fact no such thing. Holmes is aware that his conclusion in that case was wrong, and that is why he retired. He did not trust himself after making such a serious mistake. Now in his old age, unable to remember the facts of the case clearly, he struggles to go back and right his wrongs.

The acting (by all characters) is superb, but the pace is a bit slow, and crucially, the resolution of the case isn't very satisfying, although the scene of Holmes's Japanese-style closure is quite touching.

3 stars out of 5.

Ant-Man:

This was a thoroughly enjoyable and riveting movie from start to finish. It has everything one expects to see in a modern superhero movie - a flawed protagonist who nevertheless has the audience's sympathy, some family drama, cool super powers and special effects, plenty of action and suspense, lots of humour and a mean villain.

4.5 stars out of 5.

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy:

This Bollywood murder mystery set in Calcutta during the Second World War starts off very promisingly. Of course, I have no idea what wartime Calcutta looked like, but the period setting seemed quite authentic to me, including a logo on some crockery that depicted the borders of undivided India.

However, it ended very disappointingly. There were too many twists in the tale, and it went from being intriguing to contrived in a very short space of time. Also, while a corpse or two comes with the territory, this murder mystery was much more gory than required.

2.5 stars out of 5.

Minions:

After Despicable Me (1 & 2), I can only say this was disappointing. Some of the gags were funny, including some subtle digs at the English habit of drinking tea (even during a police car chase), but it didn't quite hit the mark.

3 stars out of 5, and I'm being generous here.

It's Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong:

This was one of the most watchable "chick flicks" I've seen in a long time. It's quite a short movie (72 minutes), but very engrossing. The two main characters are a Chinese-American girl (who speaks no Chinese) visiting Hong Kong, and an expat white American guy she runs into who has been in Hong Kong for over 10 years and can even speak some Cantonese. It's an utterly believable depiction of how two people (who may or may not be in relationships with other people - I'm not telling) can gradually find themselves slipping into a relationship themselves. The characters, the settings and the conversations are extremely natural and credible, also very funny in places ("So a Chinese person in the US is an immigrant, but an American person in China is an expat?"). It's quite a masterpiece of social commentary, and I could definitely watch this movie again. It's that well done.

4 stars out of 5.
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