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During the last week, I've become a HUGE fan of Duncan Jones. That's
because I saw his amazing sci-fi film "Moon" (which he wrote and
directed), his short "Whistle" and his latest "Source Code". These
three films, all super-well made and inventive, represent the three
films Jones has so far made--and I can pretty much guarantee you'll see
a lot more from him because these three films are simply amazing.
I scored "Source Code" a 9--which is actually not quite as high as I rated "Moon", but the film sure came close to also getting a 10. The plot is so inventive and the film made so well that I can't see why it isn't scored higher than 7.5 on IMDb.
When the film begins, Colter Stephens (Jake Gyllenhaal) suddenly finds himself on a train heading into Chicago. He knows no one aboard and is NOT the person people think he is. He is, in fact, a soldier serving in Afghanistan--so how did he magically appear on the other side of the planet?!?! While this is only the beginning of the film, I will say no more because the film has one surprise after another--and I'd hate to ruin the film for you.
In many ways, the film plays a lot like "Inception", "Groundhog Day" and a bit of "The Sum of All Fears". However, this is a great oversimplification--there is so much more to the film than this. Wonderful acting, wonderful direction and a thrill-a-minute script make this a must-see film. Really...you MUST see this film.
"Don" is a film about a mobster called the Don (Amitabh Bachchan). He's
a cold and dangerous man and specializes in blowing up his enemies.
And, the guy is also very slippery and the police keep missing him.
However, eventually, DSP D'Silva manages to kill the Don--but he has
the guy buried in secret. Neither the police nor the criminals realize
the Don is dead because D'Silva knows someone who looks exactly like
the Don* and plans on substituting him. So, he creates a plausible
story--that the Don was hurt so badly that his memory is temporarily
impaired. However, Vijay doesn't realize that his impersonating the Don
has two major problems--a woman in the mob is planning on killing the
Don and what would happen if D'Silva was killed and they couldn't prove
that Vijay WASN'T the Don! Tune in to see what's next.
The story is interesting and worth seeing up until the end. Unfortunately, the end is terrible--and almost slapstick. Seeing the disabled guy fighting so ably was silly as was the use of slide-whistles whenever folks did flips--and they did MORE flips than you'd see in the Summer Olympics! Badly choreographed and silly--it makes the film slip from a 9 to a 7.
I have seen a lot of Indian films compared to most Americans--which
means I still haven't seen that many compared to the average Indian! I
realize that this film is considered a classic by many Indians, but
since I don't have a sentimental attitude towards Dev Anand and his
films (he is considered a genius by many from his native land), I think
this might account for my lower score for this one than most reviews.
Dev Anand starred, wrote and directed the film. It's a film about the evils of hippies who gravitated towards the Krishnas mostly so they could do drugs, bum money, steal and do nothing with their lives. It seems a lot like a reaction of the establishment to the very popular appeal of the Indian religions due to their pop culture appeal.
The film begins with two parents divorcing and, oddly, each taking one of the children. Prashant is raised by his mother and Jasbir by the father. However, Jasbir has HUGE troubles adjusting and after years of this, she steals money from her father and step-mother and takes off from their home in Montreal to hang with the hippies in Nepal. Although Prashant hasn't seen his sister in many years, when he learns what's happened with his sister, he heads to Nepal to rescue her from her dirt-bag friends and reunite her with her family. However, Jasbir has renamed herself Janice and is now a drug-addict and terrible person. Prashant's in for a VERY difficult time--and bets beaten up, robbed and framed for a crime all by Janice's 'friends'! Can they rescue her from this crazy subculture?
Although I found the story interesting, there were also a lot of problems with it--namely, it just didn't seem worth all the trouble to rescue a lady who is just bad. You are who you hang out with and so I had a hard time caring about Janice/Jasbir. Additionally, Prashant seemed like an idiot because so many bad things happened to him yet he kept opening himself up for more! This is a great film to demonstrate bizarre co-dependency, that's for sure. Additionally, I really thought Anand did a terrible job playing an action hero. I think Liberace or Pee Wee Herman would have done a better job and seeing Anand trying to be tough and fight was unintentionally funny and I cannot imagine him beating up anyone--and the fight scenes were just awful. All in all, some decent ideas but the film came off, at times, as a bit amateurish--and not nearly as good or polished as later Indian films.
This film teams the two biggest stars of the day--Rajesh Khanna as Somu
and Amitabh Bachchan as Vikram. It's an interesting film from start to
finish and it has a lot to say--much more than a typical Bollywood
When the film begins, Somu and Vikram are two friends that are closer than brothers. Although Vikram is quite rich, he shares what he has with Somu and his family--and neither work. They mostly hang out and have fun together during the first portion of the film. However, when Vikram learns that his father has had a heart attack, his entire life changes. Because of his dad's illness, Vikram's days of playing are over and he has to run his father's company. However, Vikram shows himself to be a horrible boss--and he treats his employees like dirt. He also is quite distrustful of them and hates the union representative, so he contacts his friend Somu and asks him to come to the city and help him with running the place. The plan is for Somu to pose as a disgruntled employee with a lot of guts and eventually get the employees to elect Somu as their union representative--a representative in the pocket of the company, so to speak.
Through the course of Somu's time at the company, however, his attitude changes. While he still loves Vikram, he cannot hear about the plight of his fellow workers without feeling for them as well as resenting the way Vikram is taking advantage of his workers. And, over time, the two friends drift farther and farther apart. What's next? See the film--it's worth it.
Apart from Vikram taking responsibility for a crime he did not commit (and this made little sense to me), there's an awful lot to like about this film. The two actors are quite good and the plot is a wonderful social commentary. The film also seemed to have a bit of a gay subtext, as the two leads really, really like each other...a lot. Well worth your time and well-crafted.
"The Insider" details the back story about a segment that "60 Minutes"
aired back in the early 1990s. A fired vice president of the Brown and
Williamson tobacco company talked with CBS--even though he was
forbidden by a confidentiality agreement to talk about the company to
anyone. His conscience was bothered by some of the unscrupulous and
dangerous things the cigarette industry was covertly doing that made
cigarettes even more dangerous. The film stars several Hollywood
heavyweights--Al Pacino (the head of "60 Minutes, Russell Crowe (the
whistle-blower) and Christopher Plummer (as Mike Wallace) and is a
rather straight forward version of the story.
I agree with most of the reviews--"The Insider" is a very well-crafted film. However, it's also a case where the story, no matter how well made, is seriously flawed--at least to me. The theme of the film is how evil the tobacco companies are and how they knew that they were killing folks with their product. And, how this industry did its best to stop this story from being released by "60 Minutes". This is about as surprising as learning that pirates love booty, Nazis are evil or crack addicts love crack. Where is the story and where is the surprise?! Of course tobacco companies have been minimizing and denying that tobacco kills...DUH!!! They sell a product that kills people and they've been making it seem fun and glamorous for as long as they've been selling the product!! To me it's a no-brainer and frankly not that interesting. Plus, anyone who does choose to smoke is amazingly stupid--as we've known that cigarettes kill for many decades. So, while I respect the film for its quality, the story did nothing for me.
"Drowning Mona" is a frustrating comedy. It has interesting characters
and situations and I found myself really enjoying the film--only to
have it all fizzle at the end. And, with such an unsatisfying ending
and its inability to capitalize on a potentially funny situation, it's
a film that you probably shouldn't rush to see on DVD.
This film is very unusual in that one of the main characters of the film, Mona (Bette Midler) is killed in the first few minutes of the movie. The car she's driving has been sabotaged and the vehicle goes careening into the river. The head of the local police, Chief Rash (Danny DeVito), investigates the case and soon learns that the brakes were tampered with in multiple ways--as if someone REALLY wanted to make sure she was dead. And so, through a series of interviews and flashbacks, you learn who did this as well as what a thoroughly awful and hateful person Mona was.
The film gets high marks for setting the right stage for a comedy. Mona is so awful I kept thinking that EVERYONE in town was in on the murder---sort of like in "Murder on the Orient Express". But t just didn't capitalize on the comedy gold that seemed to be awaiting the viewer. Funny people, a funny idea and then...nothing.
By the way, I noticed that a lot of reviewers didn't like how dark the tone was of the film. I actually liked that a lot--I just didn't think they were able to capitalize on this properly--hence my score of 6--which indicates it's mildly amusing and watchable but nothing more.
Several years before Patrick McGoohan made "Secret Agent", he made a
similar half hour show called "Danger Man". "Danger Man" was quite good
but also rather rushed. So, with "Secret Agent" and their longer time
slot, the series remade a few episodes--and in this case "You're Not in
Any Trouble, Are You?" is a remake of his previous "Name, Date and
The show begins with an agent learning that a recent death was no accident. However, before he could report this, he himself was killed. However, if Drake can find it, this dead agent left a clue as to who is doing these killings. The trail leads to a murder for hire organization--sort of like Murder Incorporated. And, Drake does something insanely foolish (which he also did in the previous version)--he takes out a contract on himself!
This is a good episode with a nice, violent finale. However, it's also one of the best episodes to watch to see Drake's ambivalence about women. Throughout the series, he's very much unlike James Bond--and seems to have no interest in women whatsoever. Some might even think Drake is gay--and in this show, it's about as obvious as it can be. A beautiful lady keeps throwing herself at him and Drake seems more annoyed than interested in this very charming lady. In fact, I felt rather sorry for the woman--there was just no way she was going to get more than polite indifference from the guy.
In "Have a Glass of Wine", Drake is following a trail from one agent to
another to another as top secret information is being passed from the
UK across the Iron Curtain. At this point, the trail has led to France
and Drake knows that a young woman staying at his hotel has the
microdot filled with these secrets. When he confronts her, she admits
to being the courier and was apparently blackmailed into doing it--and
Drake intends to find out who her contact is. However, she is murdered
and Drake is framed for this killing. Here is where it gets
interesting--not only is he trying to find this contact for British
Intelligence but his counterparts with the French Secret Service are
trying to do the same. Is this being done in the spirit of cooperation?
Nope...and Drake not only has to fight commies but his own supposed
This is an interesting episode because of the statement the show is making about the French. During the 1960s (and even today) there seems to be an amazing degree is distrust or dislike between these allies that I noticed when I visited the two countries (especially in the UK). It's a rare and interesting look at this ambivalent relationship and is worth seeing. My only gripe is that the 'French' sure sounded English and their accents came and went throughout the show!
I didn't hate "Big Tits Dragon", though it isn't the same sort of bad
movie I enjoy watching. I love films that TRY to be good but fail
miserably in every way (such as "The Room" or "Plan 9 From Outer
Space"). "Bit Tits Dragon", on the other hand tries to be a horrible
movie. While there is enough to mildly recommend it for some audiences,
it's not a good bad filmit's just a cheesy film that tries to be
Before I talk about the plot and what I thought of the film, I should mention that, not surprisingly, it's NOT a family-friendly film. With a title like this, this should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone. However, what surprised me was how seldom the film showed nudity. It's not a soft-core porno film even though the title sure sounds like one. There are a few breast shots and a wildly sick shot involving a flame thrower (you have to see it to believe it), but it's clearly a mild rated-R filmeven with all the blood. And, speaking of blood, the film uses so much fake blood and guts but it never seemed the least bit realistic. While I wouldn't recommend this film to teens (or anyone with taste), it won't warp you for life!
The first half of "Big Tits Dragon" has almost no plot. Five not particularly talented strippers are out of work and bored in a small town in Japan. They mostly sit around in their underwear and complain or try to make money. Only about halfway into the film does anything of consequence happen. One of them notices a locked door behind a curtain in their dressing room. It leads to a tunnel to a weird home where one of them discovers The Book of the Dead. She invokes a spell that unleashes a plague of over-acting zombies on the Earth. Then, a battle ensues between strippers and Zombies until the Blue Ogre arrives from Hell to put everything right (this is, by far, the best scene in the film).
The acting is very bad and the plot very silly. But, the film isn't 100% terrible because it knows it's bad and makes no bones about it. In many ways, it reminds me of a Troma filmone that wants to be a bad film and revels in cheesiness. And, some of the film is actually clever and funny (such as when sushi turns into zombie sushi). But most of it is rather stupid and it's not the sort of film you want to let your mother or friends know you've watched because they'll probably have a lower opinion of you! Silly, occasionally sexy and quite dumbthis is Bit Tits Zombie in a nut shell. This film is NOT for everyone and is best for someone who is obsessed with the zombie genre. For anyone else, this is easy to skipand your brain might just thank you!
A recent hit has been "The Lego Movie" and so far it's made a ton of
money ($224,000,000 in only a month--and that's only in the USA!).
Well, I don't find this the least bit surprising. The film already has
a nostalgic element that might draw many adults to the movie.
Additionally it has something many kids' films don't--it's very, very
watchable for the adults who have been drug along to see it! It's often
very funny and never takes itself seriously.
The film is about a meanie in the Lego world named President Business (the voice of Will Ferrell). He's determined to destroy their world by using his ultimate weapon--a tube of Crazy Glue! But the inhabitants of the world are mostly clueless and think he's a great guy. Later, this turns out to have parallels in the real human world.
As I said above, the film often was very funny as it often made nice cultural references or made fun of Lego. It also had the silliest soundtrack I've ever heard--with songs whose lyrics almost sound as if they were written by 7 year-olds! And, interestingly, you'll find yourself humming along with these catchy tunes! Clever and worth seeing, my only worry is that they'll bring out some sort of sequel--and although I really liked the film, I'd hate to see them ruin the franchise as the film seemed very complete and doesn't need followups.
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