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A tale of deceptive beauty
I had to write something about this movie. The average score doesn't reflect the true standard of the film. That's how I feel. The beauty of this film lies in its simplicity. The actors' performances were simple, cosy and intimate. Anne Hathaway is a breath of fresh air. Having her in the cast was certainly the masterstroke from the director. She fits that role to perfection. It is not a fast paced drama, nor a deep psychological warfare with your neurons but it is a bumpy emotional ride. The story would probably suit a book better than a film because it would be easier to describe the turmoil inside each character's head, and this is where Hathaway's character come in handy to try to extract those feelings from her patients for us to understand. These types of films were a bit more popular in the 90's, and it is perhaps with an air of nostalgia that I have watched another well written light hearted drama. Buy the DVD on sale - it would be well worth the watch.
17 Again (2009)
Could have been worse
Zac Efron - High School Musical Star, I was limping in the pictures. You know when you couldn't get the majority vote to watch another movie. I was planning to smirk all the way through the movie - but instead I found myself smiling and sometimes laughing out loud.
The actors did a very good job - I was expecting the movie to be partially saved by mathew perry - but he was only a peripheral figure. And Zac Efron was spot on, admittedly for a teenage movie but we've got to give him credit. My favourite obviously would be mathew perry's best friend, but obviously the plot for his character was very polished. Now the story itself is far from original - I get the feeling that it was made to fit squarely Efron's calibre. But instead of saying it could have been better - I'd rather say - It could have been worse.
American Gangster (2007)
Uncut version - worth the watch
The uncut version is nearly 3 hours long - which makes it about 20 mins longer than the theatre release version. The added scenes are certainly not detrimental to the film - if anything it adds even more depth and character to it. American Gangster is very much similar to Godfather with the difference that this movie is based on a true story. And you might be forgiven to think that this one looks more fictional than most gangster movies. The scams, double crossing, shooting people in the head in the middle of a street in new york, the impotency of the police in front of the obvious, the level of corruption in all spheres of the society and the widespread epidemic of drug abuse in new york, are simply astonishing. The historical aspect is very accurate as well. Ridley Scot does a great job by keeping the balance right - make it frantic and fast paced or follow the melodramatic line of the godfather? He has indeed found the right balance. But what he has achieved more prominently is immerse us into the 60's era of new york. There are a few allusions to the difficulty of a black man toppling the Italian mafia in those days; but I felt that maybe that aspect could have been developed further. This movie is a very very good watch - not lesson in cinema, as who would want to beat the godfathers in gangster movie - but this less fictional movie however is not very far away.
Some films age very well; this one simply doesn't!
The film was made in 1980. You would think you have to watch it with a different perspective. Think about the limited resources they had at the time. Well you need not. It can be compared to any contemporary film sci-fi or otherwise. True, people who cannot watch sci-fi movies won't appreciate star wars to its true value. But then, can they appreciate cinema as a whole? Casting this unsolicited attack aside, those who are not experts in the field and I would include myself as one, should start with star wars series. Star Wars IV a new hope was a very good start but the special effects and plot was not as refined. You could see the lack means as a first major project for George Lucas. But it is easily forgiven since Star wars V is the gem in the crown. I have to rate this film as a masterpiece, if not by its incredibly credible special effects (even by 2009 standards), but by a story which keeps the mystery till the end. The epic fighting and tight situations keep us on the edge of our seats throughout. It is fast paced. But I watch this film at least once every year. And every time I know I am going to watch it again. I know the story, I surely remember almost all the scenes of the movie. It is the atmosphere in which we are cast from the minute the small written resume rolls up the screen with the background music, that doesn't leave us. George Lucas, as confirmed Steven Spielberg is a master at story telling. He adds the spices to an already good sauce to make it sublime. Hans Solo is in the same vein as Indy in Indiana Jones, but we just never get tired of it. The two droids add an uncanny sense of humour; the unity of the whole rebel group; the love hate relationship of Hans Solo and Leia, all very simple ingredients mixed together by the genius of George Lucas, whether he did it purposely or not. We are projected in a well oiled machine working at optimal capacity, and all we can do is follow, no questions asked. It goes without saying that I recommend buying the collection.
Big guns fail to fire!
Ben Stiller, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Alain Chabat, Owen Wilson; On paper, it's a hell of a cast - Some comedy heavy weights given featherweight parts in a movie!!! How could they deliver? Ricky Gervais, I've barely seen him. In the first movie, his unfinished sentences were pure bliss. The more, the better. But his character was reduced to an almost serious emotional boring museum director. Owen Wilson, ... well I still remember him in the first movie ... was he really in the second? The first movie was about a jobless guy, having difficulties with family life; he gets a job at a museum only to move on as quickly as possible. Then, his world explodes into unimaginable proportions. All very nice, something you can relate to, there was no need for moral etiquettes to be attached to every scene in the movie.
Now, you've got a successful guy thinking about reverting back to a museum security guy. Oh come on!!!
However, there are some nice comedy scenes and the film IS enjoyable and you get that taste throughout - It could have been so much better. Instead of seeing too big and being too greedy - they should have kept it simple - work more on the background story and overall plot rather than dumping everybody in the biggest museum in the world and see what happens.
Star Trek (2009)
Would it make a difference if I say don't watch it?
It is a decent sci-fi movie - not a very good star trek movie. It feels like an extended episode of the series, and you'd think - oh well - I'll wait for next week's episode which hopefully will be better than this week's uncommonly uninspired one. The hic however is that this is not an episode - it's supposed to be a blockbuster movie. The special effects - granted are up to standards for a movie which involved astronomical sums of money in its making.
The plot unfortunately resembles too much the usual ephemeral blockbuster in the box office which normally lasts a short burst up the charts and fades away very quickly. It is good fun but you tend to forget about the movie as soon as you leave the pictures. About the story itself ... why bother ... not much to say except that you've got people coming from the future trying to rectify things in the present. No wait! The way I've said it might make the plot sound interesting but don't be fooled. Watch the film only for the special effects and the chick in short red skirt.
Those who want to see an entertaining sci-fi movie - go for it. If you are a trekkie - you would probably still go watch it but now you know what to expect.
Fast & Furious (2009)
Back to where it started? Not quite!
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel together again - I was thinking this is going to be a walk down memory lane and relive the excitement of the first movie. Now the first movie was all about cars - you were cast into the world of street racers - for those who love cars, it was simply fan-tastic. The franchise of fast & furious was always about cars. The story lines were not very elaborate but the film was not supposed to be thriller or a masterpiece in cinema. But it stood out because it revolved around cars and few films have done that way. F&F4 however is another story. And indeed, story they've tried to inject in the film. That meant less time to talk about cars and anything related to the world of street racing. Yes, you will see a few races (I don't want to reveal too much) but they have tried to make F&F4 accepted by a wider audience. Fair enough! But it also means, it will have to be judged with a bigger variety of films. And I'm afraid to say, that there are better action packed thrillers out there. It is good entertainment to see good old American muscle cars ripping through the Mexican deserts and through tunnels barely large enough for your scooters but it stops there. Those who are fans of the first F&F will have to watch this 4th one but as cliché as it might sound, it does not beat the original.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Another superhero movie? Yes! nothing more.
I have been reading marvel comics throughout my children and teenage years. But I like this movie. Yes, it does not follow the marvel script. Admittedly, the wolverine in marvel comics has usually a darker personae, full of mystery about his past. I say usually, because it is not always the case. The writers of marvel comics have got their own style and I have seen many different attributes given to wolverine down the years in the comics, some radically different to each other. It is only understandable that the director and obviously the production (more suited for family films) of this movie elected to cast their own light to the character. The Batman films have been mostly family film in the past and some utter rubbish, until recently Christopher Nolan was given the task of revamping the bat character. I suppose and hope that this will be the case for wolverine. For now, we have an entertaining sci-fi action film with a few glitches. Not the best story line, but it is action packed. The reason why I liked it must be because it was good to see wolverine given the prominent role in an xmen movie, just because im a fan. To watch without high expectations.
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
The last of a dying breed?
This is not an epic movie. There are no heroes, no legendary feats in this movie, it's no band of brothers, it's a Kubrick film. And it's a fantastic one. Kubrick never did in complex scenarios, the plot in this movie, is simple, a group young Americans being trained to join the marines forms the first part, which to me is the main one. You can see Kubrick's work at its best in that first part. Seargeant Instructor Hartman, what a character! He is in your face from the first minute of the film, and those scenes at the camp were wonderfully shot. Close ups to bank on actors' performances and add intensity to the scenes, and intense they were. The humiliating and degrading treatment imposed by the Sergeant Instructor to the whole group, especially to Pvt Pyle, is frightening. The star performer in that first part to me has got to be Pvt Pyle. The scenes are shot in a succession of defining events, so that your eyes are scotched to the screen.
The second part takes place in Vietnam, a Vietnam ravaged by war. Now I have to admit here that there have been better war movies shot in the heat of battle if you are looking for spectacular, rapid, grandiose fighting. Apocalypse Now would be a superb example. But here Kubrick, offers a more intimate view of fighting and always keeps it simple but pleasing on the eye. Many will say that the first part is of higher quality than the second, it could be true. But I think that the second part had to be shot in this way, nothing too over the top, a plot so simple and intense, so that it is difficult to forget. Do you remember most of the scenes in saving private ryan? No matter how much you prepare for war, how well trained you are, you can never be ready for the real thing. At the camp, the guys were subjected to the worst kind of treatment and yet in Vietnam, the war is a different proposition. Each war is different, the Vietnam war was not the same as the second world war when you knew what you were fighting for. It is certainly different to what is going on right now. But the films treating the subject of Vietnam war will be rarer and rarer, Apocalypse Now, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket are the best three films on Vietnam war. Therefore, Kubrick's work here should be a collector's item even if as an adrenaline junky, you could see better war films.
Dragonball Evolution (2009)
Keep away, at least a few hundred metres away!
Yun-Fat Chow! He must be seriously thinking about sacking his agent. An actor of his calibre in a film which barely makes up for the pop corn. You would rack your brains trying to find positives for this film. But then again, I must have known just by looking at the posters. Why did I watch it then? Well, because I have been watching Dragonball anime years and years ago and I was utterly disappointed even beyond the cushion of low expectations I prepared myself with. Yes, bracing yourself before going to the pictures isn't going to help for that film. The special effects were fine - in the early 1990's. The plot didn't do remotely justice to the anime. The director must have been taking the p**s, because you cannot seriously try to make a good film and end up with this.
Avoid at all cost.