“Bird Box”. Unseen Ghost/s


In “Bird Box,” Sandra Bullock plays a single mom (Malorie) trying to save her kid’s lives after mysterious forces invade Earth and causes people to kill themselves. Survivors must wear blindfolds or be exposed to supernatural entities (or monsters) that embody their deepest fears and drive them to suicide. Directed by Susanne Bier, this apocalyptic horror film , is based on a novel by Josh Malerman.  Netflix claimed ‘Bird Box’ was watched by more than forty-five million subscribers, a record of sorts.

The premise of the movie is pretty unique, and it starts of well. It works here and there with a few thrills, but overall leaves you unsatisfied. You cannot complain much about the script in a horror set-up but it could have been better. The cast makes it up for the flaws in the script and engages you for most part, making it a watchable fare.

Birds being used as a way to foretell the onset of the monsters like dogs for ghosts is a pretty neat trick. It does remind you of the water ripple in ‘Jurassic Park’ and the associated music. The kids combination just like in ‘Jurassic Park’ and a not-so-good parent taking them to safety, is also a similar theme from the dinosaur movie.

Unlike ‘Jurassic Park’ you never to get to see the dinosaur, but you do bump into infected individuals every now and then.  In ‘Bird Box’ because the whole world is infected or you are unaware whether it is infected or not, Malorie’s  only hope is to follow the radio message and cross the river to safety. An effort similar to the Meryl Streep movie ‘The River wild’. The movie ends a bit like Hitchcock film ‘The Birds’, with birds returning to their habitat (birds were human’s foes in that movie though), and leaving many loose ends, keeping the possibility open for a sequel.

Guess the popular themes of apocalyptic world, escape from monsters, bad parent to good parent, race to survival, world wide calamity etc and the familiarity offered by popular actors, gave the movie its initial draw. Throw in the social marketing of Netflix, it is highly unlikely that anyone interested remotely in these themes would miss it.  The movie reportedly made with a budget of USD19mn is a tad low on production values, but it is enough to make the story believable.

Tailpiece from ‘The NewYorker’

Netflix notoriously doesn’t, in general, report viewership numbers. Yet it couldn’t resist crowing that more than forty-five million subscribers watched “Bird Box” in its first week online. How would it have done in a traditional wide theatrical release? Would it have taken in four hundred million dollars at the box-office in its first week alone? I suspect that its viewership depends upon its low barrier to entry. Even just the extraordinary cast, which also includes John Malkovich, Jacki Weaver, Lil Rel Howery, and Sarah Paulson, is good enough to watch for free. Unfortunately, “Bird Box” puts these performers through familiar paces, in roles of such tight typecasting that they seem like recurring characters in an extended TV series—which may also be part of the secret to the film’s Netflix success- New Yorker

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“Bird Box,” Reviewed: An Apocalypse Built for Netflix

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Hotstar to invest Rs 120 crore in generating original content

Hotstar, which has the highest number of downloads (over 350 million) and claims of 150 million monthly active users, has so far relied on films, sports and catch-up content from Star India’s channels.

Sanjay Gupta, managing director, Star India, told ET that 80% of the viewership on Hotstar comes from drama and movies, while sports, which include Indian Premier League (IPL), BCCI matches, Pro Kabaddi, and Indian Super League, though give a spike in viewership, amounts only to about 20% ..

More at EconomicTimes.com

‘Godless’ : Devil is the God.


It takes some time to get used to the pace of  ‘Godless’, but once you do, you will get bowled over by everything in it.

An interesting take on the Westerns, yet serving all the ingredients–gunfire, duel finale, satanic villains, loner hero etc–in good measures. What sets ‘Godless’ apart from a B movie western is ironically its leisurely pace and the build up to next episodes. Equally worth mentioning are interesting characters, terrific acting and brilliant production values. Thumbs up for editing and music, both grow on you and pull you into the action and the drama of this mini series.

Often, the right casting of the protagonists does it for a good execution. ‘Godless’ makes it great, with almost all the characters perfectly cast, right from Jeff Daniels as the devil incarnate to  Tantoo Cardinal as the Indian grandmother…and the lesser screentime actors from the black town. In the end every ones get their share of hurrah and lift the series to the next level.

One does wonder about the portrayal of Frank Griffin, by Jeff Daniels, an unique take of a villain who is so sure of himself yet that morally wrong.  May be you could position his take of the charcter between between El Indio (Gian Maria Volontè) in ‘For a Few dollars more’ and Little Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman) in ‘Unforgiven’. Frank Griffin is in a way opposite to these characters though…if the villain in ‘For a Few dollars’ is in constant turmoil and subconsciously waits for death, Frank on the other hand believes death can’t touch him. In ‘Unforgiven’ Sheriff believes he has an entitlement to certain beautiful future, and has a goal sort of, while Frank only interest is in mayhem and murder, till Roy Goode provides him with something to go after.

Undeniably Jeff Daniels delivers one of the best performances and depicts the villain in a manner we haven’t seen before. This also brings the excellent writing into spotlight, and you could say material was all there for him to play with.

Overall, ‘Godless’ is a must watch for all fans of Westerns and good drama….and if you make it to the final episode, it is worth the effort.

Related Links

For a Few Dollars More
Title Music and Sequence