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Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
The wanted to re-make DIE HARD. Ended up with SHARKNADO.
Okay.. there are no Sharks. or Tornados. And on surface it has a lot of similarities with Die Hard. But do not be mislead by the medium high 6.5 rating. My rating is 3 and IMDb rating shouldn't be higher than 4.9.
However this movie is a casting master piece. To get Aaron Echkart, Gerry Butler and Morgan Freeman to star in a turkey like this, you have to be really good at what you do.
So I am guessing that they probably spent all their budget on the star studded cast and forgot to budget for other things such as the special effects. Or pay the writers.
Its also a must see for any aspiring writers. This movie is basically a 101 in cliché's to avoid.
Assassination Games (2011)
Tries to be more than an action flick, comes out insipid.
Just finished this movie on the Netflix. On paper, "Assassination Games" had all the ingredients of being a fairly decent entertainer - Van Damme, mafia, interpol, 2nd assassin - but on screen it is NOT.
Someone (director? Producer ?) didn't want to make just an action movie.. they decided to add "depth" to a low budget action movie! So they shot the movie in sepia. They try to give "character" to the entire cast. VanDamme is a violin playing assassin - really ? And it takes the good-hearted prostitute 5 meetings to get him to bed (without adding any sexual tension in the process the director might be hoping for). None of this adds to film in anyway.. just makes it longer than it needs to be. The action scenes are so pathetic that you see better action in TV nowadays. A very direction-less film, trying desperately to sell movie using any device they could fit in.
I heard they just had a 4million budget to work with - which explains some shortcuts. But why did they spent it on adding pointless minutes is beyond me ? I am being generous when I give it at 5 rating. I would have been really disappointed if I had paid specifically for this movie to watch it.
Director loses plot. Audience interest.
Premise is Adventures of a (presumably) working class Son-in-Law in a Dysfunctional rich family. This is a great premise. There are at least 2 funny TV series on based on this plot. First 15 minutes of this movie are exciting & you think you are in for a 2 hour ride of comic situations involving rich people doing unbelievably stupid stuff. Camera work is also nice. Acting looks decent. If you've seen Aaron's "Thanks You for Smoking" earlier, you know that he can play his part in a witty movie.
However post 15 minutes, it appears that someone else decided to finish the project with high school kids in director's/ editor's/ script writer's chair. Nothing seems to move forward or unfold or deepen the characters. Funny situations blow up before the punch line. Most of the sub-plots are totally inconsequential. And if someone thinks they made a movie dealing with existential dilemma, I am sorry to inform them that's certainly not the case here.
6.4 ? Really, my fellow IMDBians ? This turkey is 6.4 ? Tarsem Singh's "The Cell" is 6.2. Al Pancio's "88 minutes" is 5.9. I am giving it 3 stars for the casting dept, which did a fantastic job in casting hugely talented Aaron and shapely Ms.Banks.
Life in a Metro (2007)
Parallel story lines makes not a magnolia.
Anurag Basu has mastered the art of copying Hollywood movies. He flicks popular Hollywood or world movies/themes and presents them in an Indian context. So in my opinion he is just a smart businessman and not an auteur as he is made out to be. The mainstream media in India is for sale and it's possible to re-paint a cat and call it a Lion. And hence he has a good reputation going for him. Unfortunately due to this hype, people are comparing Anurag Basu to his namesake - Anurag Kashyap - who plays many leagues above him.
Other users who like his movies seem to comment based on the entertainment value (some of which should be credited to Mr.Basu as it takes some smarts to be keep his output entertaining) or are totally unaware of the original.
I would to distinguish *copying* from *inspiration*. For example, "Dev D" by Anurag Kashyap is inspired by the Novel/movie "Devdas", but it's a thoroughly original take on it. However "Murder" by Basu is almost a scene by scene copy of "Unfailthful" - till the twist-in-the-end gimmick : pretty much like how so many b-movie makers take a hit movie, add a twist but they are pretty much unoriginal. At least most B-movies don't pretend to be original.
Similarly, "Life in a metro" is inspired by the Hollywood trend of parallel, nearly disjoint story lines (Magnolia, Playing by Heart (1998) among many others). Here most characters are one dimensional (but that's just my opinion) and unconvincing in their actions. There is no catharsis that a movie of this nature would aim to inflict on the user. In fact at times it seems to go the Madhur Bhandarkar populist way - where by showing something big (a metropolitan city) in a negative light, he tries to win the masses. Yup, so while writing this comment, I found a peer for Anurag Basu - Madhu Bhandarkar. They represent the so called new breed of Bollywood cinema who claim that they'll re-invent the industry. All the will succeed is in re-inventing some beaten story lines. (Okay, Madhur might be slightly more original than Basu but he is uninspiring and populist).
Inside Man (2006)
Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster in a Spike Lee Heist film!
And the major self hype in the beginning of the film.
But does it really live up to the expectations ? My answer is a big NO.
First of all, it extremely self congratulatory - "I planned and set in motion events to execute the perfect bank robbery". No, not in my opinion. dozen's of lives were put at risk. The plan was hardly fool proof.
Denzel Washington's character pays undue tribute to the robber - "Exactly where he wants me with my pants around my ankles". Not really - why would he have such a defeatist attitude ?
The main trick is similar to V for Vendetta - so it's nothing new. And it's hardly impossible to not isolate people who might have been involved by simple questioning - just ask who all opened an account in the bank recently or look for solid reasons for them to be in the bank.
And Denzel's boss says that no crime was committed. Really ? what do you call holding 20 people hostage for hours ?
Jodie Foster's character tries to be Wolf of Pulp fiction; without the same conviction, just the same (over)confidence.
Overall this movie was just a well made set of loopholes. While you may not feel bored due to the fast pace and witty dialog- but in the end an average viewer, not in awe of the big names, would feel a bit high and dry.
What Happens in Vegas (2008)
If you are reading this, you might as well see the movie!
Let me state the obvious first: this is movie is not going down against WHMS as an iconic urban romantic comedy. Rather, it falls in the predictably simple romantic comedy. If you have seen one; you have seen them all.
What's good about this movie ? Some laughs in the first half. Uncomplicated storyline. Ashton Kutcher's energy (god bless mama Moore). Decent side kicks.
What's bad about this movie ? Cameron Diaz's bot-ox. Editing could've been snappier. Simplistic Vegaxploitation. Mild racial stereotypes.
Why did I see it ? We were on a team lunch+movie outing. This was the only one that filtered out through preferences - as the lowest common denominator. However, I don't think any of us regretted watching this in the end.
Bottomline, if this movie is in your radar for some reason, it's watchable. It delivers what it promises, but that's all. If you abhor mundane Hollywood style Substance-less superficial, unrealistic comedy, why are you still reading this review ?
The Italian Job (2003)
Why hate it when you can enjoy it ?
TIJ carries the stigma of being a remake. Well, anyone who has seen the original and carries fond memories, would sit thru the movie comparing the two and usually there is only one loser in such a comparison.
If someone would look at this movie in isolation. This movie has done a fantastic "job" in completing this remake.
Ed Norton is a bit ordinary in this movie - which was the only surprise for me. An actor of his caliber had opportunity and capability to add more depth or shades to this role. Fine.. ignore Ed Norton the actor.. it's still an entertaining movie.
I'll give it 8/10 for sheer entertainment, pace and updating the script.
Taking an interesting concept and go nowhere with it.
The Good: (1) Pace is Not Boring. (2) The idea/concept is fairly original (but checkout the "The Ugly" below).
The Bad: (1) Tagline itself is a "spoiler"! The director spends so much energy and time on couple's chemistry and the Tagline pretty much gives half of it away! So for a person who read the Tagline on the poster has nothing going for him for the first 70 minutes. (2) How were they really planning to get the whole property ? What about the Mom. Wouldn't she fight them with a good lawyer and any check on the history of the culprits leak out the details. (3) The movie supposedly drops the clues around for you to figure out what's happening. But if you already read the Tagline, your are anyway in the know. (4) How can a doctor start performing surgery on another hospital ? (5) Why did Harry call the police later. Wouldn't his fore-knowledge and inaction of the crime incriminate him anyway ?
The Ugly: The fact that the protagonist was awake during the surgery, has NOTHING to do with rest of the movie! All the events have independent starting points, unrelated to the fact that the protagonist was Awake during the surgery! The story could've been exactly the same even if he was NOT awake!