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jsataluri

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17 reviews in total 
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12 out of 36 people found the following review useful:
Visually stunning with excellent acting, 4 October 2015
9/10

Ridley Scott's The Martian is a straight forward, yet visual alluring movie about a man stranded on Mars and the team effort from Earth to bring him home. From the beginning, it gets straight to the plot and beautifully illustrates Mark Whatney's long, arduous and painstaking tale of survival and the NASA/JPL's (with some help) persistent and tireless team effort to bring him home.

Ridley Scott directs the film with beautiful storytelling and stunning visuals. The plot does not meander and the scenery and visual effects are exemplary. Mars looks and feels real and the satellite imagery is used appropriately. The humor is intoxicating and keeps the audience entertained. Most importantly the human determination and strong spirit is the key to the film's success. We all aspire to be the best we want to be and when we run into trouble, we should always try to remain hopeful of the situation and never ever give up.

An excellent cast consisting of comedic actors like Kristen Wiig, reliable character actors like Jeff Daniels and Michael Peña (the former who doesn't let his character become a caricature and brings a bit of Gregg Popovich in him and the latter who is great as always), Marvel characters like Kate Mara and Sebastian Stan, new names that some of the audience may have never heard before like Aksel Hennie, Benedict Wong, McKenzie Davis and Donald Glover and those in the background elevate the film from being an ordinary film. Jessica Chastain is wonderful as the commanding officer, portraying her character's reactions with great naturalism. Sean Bean is a delight as the Flight Director who eschews PR distractions by using his practicality and common sense to bring the crew home.

But the film belongs to Matt Damon and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Damon is brilliant as the main character Whatney who tries to do the best he can to survive on Mars. Each aspect of his acting does not feel forced and his deadpan is hilarious. Most importantly his will to live drives the film and we feel as if we are with him and we want him to return home. He can add this performance to his personal top 5. In my opinion, Ejiofor is at the peak of his acting prowess and he is fantastic as Vincent Kapoor who is deeply involved about the fate of the crew and will do anything it takes to bring them home. He is to be lauded for making Kapoor a strong willed humanist who is compassionate to everyone and views them as equals and simultaneously as a no nonsense engineer who wants things done at the best of their capabilities in order to save life. To him like Ed Harris's portrayal of Gene Kranz in Apollo 13, failure is and will not be an option.

Background music is good, but the 70s soundtrack is even better much to the annoyance of Whatney.

Overall, this movie with its simple storyline, arresting visuals, and excellent ensemble led Damon and Ejiofor with honorable mentions to Chastain and Bean is something to experience. Most importantly, the human determination and spirit is the most memorable aspect of the movie and will linger with you as you leave the theater.

9/10

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A visually gratifying, yet flawed film, 28 July 2015
7/10

SS Rajamouli's Baahubali is a visually stunning, yet flawed movie. The plot does not need to be revealed as many posters have previously done so, but meanders between interesting and unsatisfactory. While it does a decent job of fleshing out the characters, there is too much Telugu hero bravado and not much credible acting from the leads. The scenes where Shivudu and Avantika meet and fall in love and then he takes over her mission did not make sense and was probably meant for the masses rather for those who want a credible storyline. They should have left out the romantic scenes as they constrict the narrative.

All the credit should and will go to Rajamouli and the VFX team for their three year hard and tireless work to make this a presentable picture. They will certainly reap the necessary awards. However some scenes looked fake (Avalanche, bull fight) and claiming that they were under budget constraints is not an excuse. There were too many high flying stunts that constrain the movie and as mentioned before are only there to show the heroism of the males and nothing more. The battle scenes do make up for some of the missteps though inspired from LOTR and 300. I hope the team fixes these problems mentioned here and by other posters either from their reviews or forum posts in the second film. It looks like they're moving on the right path in terms of visual effects, but they still have a long way to go.

Acting wise, it is the supporting cast of a powerful Ramya Krishna, Nassar (though made as a caricature in some scenes) and Satyaraj who perform the best with the latter stealing the show as a Bhishma type warrior conflicted by his duty to the kingdom and doing the right thing. Prabhas has definitely worked hard on his muscular look, but acts like any Tollywood hero would which is not so great, although he does a good job as the father. Rana is OK but made to be too evil and I would have liked to have seen more depth in his characterization. Tamannah has a decent role and like Prabhas gets to flex her muscles in some action scenes but the change in her character when she gets tempted to fall in love with his character is baffling. Rajamouli, please do not use her as eye candy only! Anushka has a smaller, yet unglamorous and better role though her lines are a bit tacky. I hope she has a stronger and more impactive part in the second film. The rest of the cast which include Rohini, Sudeep and Tanikella Bharani are passable.

Overall, it may be a step in the right direction and is definitely better than the nonsense produced today but it is simply a movie to watch only once. We all know many fans are eager for the conclusion, but may not be able to fathom the one year gap. But I hope this one year wait will give Rajamouli and his team the time to fix the flaws, tighten up the script, stop with the hero worshiping, improve the visuals where they don't look fake and finally present a final product that can stand the test of time like a Sholay. All the best to them.

Watch solely for the visuals and Satyaraj's performance.

6.5/10

PS. What on earth was that language by the Kalakeya tribe? Was it inspired by "The Gods must be Crazy"? Did they invent a new language? If so, it was childish and hilarious for the wrong reasons.

1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
The darker James Bond we knew before..., 24 July 2007
9/10

.....as Sean Connery is back in the form of Daniel Craig. In this performance he is more brutal, more dangerous but with a tender heart which becomes more evident towards the end. In his first mission ever, he is sent to foil the plans of Le Chiffre, an evil banker who has to deal with terrorists after his money. To win his money back, Le Chiffre organizes and participates in a poker game in Casino Royale in Montenegro. With the help of British accountant, Vesper Lynd, Bond decides to play the game as well, to defeat Le Chiffre and to get him to disclose the terrorists' name. But this is not an easy task in mind for Bond, for more dangerous acts including double crossing and murders come into the picture that could destroy his already dangerous profession....

As the new Bond, Daniel Craig provides brutality, dangerousness and great acting that will cement his career as the next Bond. Mads Mikkelsen plays a great villain living a double life as the evil banker and as the desperate human being staking his profession and life to save his money. Other performances include Eva Green as the sultry Vesper Lynd who may or may not be who she is, Judi Dench as M, Jeffrey Wright as Felix, and Giancarlo Giannini as Mathis who provides a different side of an agent that you will not perceive him to be.

The action scenes are fantastic and will keep you thrilled and waiting for more. The cinematography is also excellent as well as the music. Many people will not believe this to be the best Bond ever, but this is the most truest Bond you'll ever see.

9/10.

Easy Rider (1969)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Drugged Beyond Boredom, 30 June 2007
3/10

When my father and I watched this film, I expected just more than a drug film talking about the dangers of the drug use. Instead we received a film that was really drugged beyond boredom. It's just about two young druggies (Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper) searching for the American dream, except doing it the wrong way. Along the way, they meet with up Jack Nicholson's character, a alcoholic lawyer who does not really know the meaning of freedom. He is sort of a guide to them, telling them about the dangers of being free. Everyone will fear them and will become dangerous. This observation is noticed when they enter a restaurant that they realize that they are not being served, but being discriminated by the rednecks in the place, resulting with Nicholson's death. Then it rambles on into a LSD scene, which is very graphic, confusing and lost my interest towards the end when both are killed.

I will give credit to the cinematographer for his beautiful portrayal of the countryside and wired-out scenes of the LSD sexual rampage. The music is also fantastic and shows the decline of the hippies/LSD generation throughout the films. Unfortunately, the performances were not at par with the film. Only Jack Nicholson was good to watch. I am totally disgusted with the tone of this film. I guess I didn't really understand the theme of this film and I should have been in a different mood in order to view this film, but the search for paradise through this look is atrocious. I guess I can understand some of the meanings of what this film is trying to depict, but this is not a film that I would like to view again.

3/10.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A movie that will never be forgotten., 23 February 2006
10/10

When I watched this movie, I expected just the normal routine: guy getting fired because he's gay and has AIDS and he hires a lawyer to fight his cause and they win. But Philadelphia was more than that. It is a movie that makes us aware that gay people/people stricken with AIDS, HIV or any life-threatening disease are created equal as well. We are so frightened of gay people or people with AIDS that we alienate these people completely ignorant of the fact that they are part of the "all men created equal".

Before Philadelphia was made, Tom Hanks was just a comedic actor. He appeared on sitcoms and SNL and performed in comedies like "Bachelor Party", "Splash", "Big". But all he wanted to do was to become a dramatic actor. Then this movie came and Hanks really pulled off the greatest performance of his life winning an well deserved Oscar. In the movie, Hanks portrays Andrew Beckett, a gay lawyer stricken with AIDS who is fired by his bosses. Sick and furious, he hires Joe Miller, a homophobic lawyer played by Denzel Washington to fight for his cause. But throughout the movie, audiences can see the pain and suffering Andrew Beckett is going through. In Joe Miller's office, when Miller says that he can't take the case, you can see the hurt in Beckett's face. During the courtroom scenes (particularly these scenes top A Few Good Men by a lot), Beckett is still in pain because of the sickness and angry. He looks at his bosses in loathing and Miller as hope. But the opera scene after the party is the real scene stealer as Beckett recalls his favorite opera. Audiences see the joy in his face that he had before he was fired. It didn't matter that he was gay, he was ecstatic, his life was fulfilled, HE HAD EVERYTHING. Upon his death scene, he is very happy to have won the case and passes away in peace.

As mentioned before, Tom Hanks was never taken seriously until this movie and he gives his greatest performance ever, even better than Forrest Gump. This was his first dramatic performance and he really pulled it off, winning a well-deserved Oscar. Denzel Washington has always been a great actor and he does a superb job as the lawyer who sheds his homophobia to defend his client who in his eyes is as equal as all men. Probably Washington's best scene is when he grabs the young black guy who doubts he can succeed in the case and exclaims, "I don't give a damn about what you think about me, I am a lawyer and I am going to win this case!" His determination and commitment for Beckett's case are the most vital aspects of this film. These two titans of Hollywood are the best dramatic duo ever. Their chemistry is so well done that they are indeed the best actors ever in Hollywood. Also supporting them are Jason Robards as his boss, Mary Steensburgen as the opposing lawyer who gives a great villainous performance, Joanne Woodward as Tom Hanks's mother, and Antonio Banderas as Tom Hanks's gay partner.

Director Jonathan Demme, coming off of a huge success in The Silence of the Lambs, does even more in Philadelphia. He does not try to show a true biopic, rather he is showing the portrait of a everyday man who happens to be gay and to have AIDS. The courtroom scenes are shot so beautifully that as mentioned, they surpass Kramer Vs. Kramer, A Few Good Men and many more courtroom dramas.

Overall, this film is the best human told story ever. This is a great film which inspires everyone to take action against any prejudice. I applaud this film as a landmark to discovering that we must take action against discrimination and homophobia. Even those who are homophobic should realize the fact that everyone is created equal. We must not judge anybody by their skin, sex, diseases and homosexuality for that is wrong and unjust.

This movie doesn't deserve a 10 out of 10. It deserves a 12 out of 10! A MUST SEE MOVIE!!!!

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A movie that made me realize what stupid mistakes a President can make., 21 February 2006
10/10

Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford team up as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two reporters who covered and leaked the White House's involvement in the Watergate scandal, which led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon. With support by Oscar Winner Jason Robards and a great cast led by Jack Warden, Martin Balsam and Hal Holbrook as Deep Throat, this movie convinced me that many presidents can be big liars as well. They commit mistakes that could ruin the country not only economically, but politically and socially and that is not what we expect of any president. Even if any important person is ordered by the government or any group not to speak about any scandals involving any government official or the President himself, the truth will eventually be leaked out. Lying and hiding anything scandalous are very atrocious to our country and to ourselves. Eventually the people will know what is going on. As citizens of the United States, we should keep an eye on our Presidents more to make sure they're not doing anything scandalous that could cause this country to fall into chaos.

As for this film, it does a splendid job of showing Woodstein's (Woodward and Bernstein) hard work, determination and commitment in getting the facts and exposing us to a certain imminent danger. Perhaps the film's greatest strength is grasping the viewer deep inside the facts and not letting go till the end. I rank this a 10/10 for the drama and intense thrilling moments shown.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Surprise! No hysterical comedy anymore!, 7 January 2006
9/10

When my family and I watched the movie, we expected a hysterical comedy. Instead we got a drama about a man whose life is a TV show and how he slowly realizes that it's fake and tries to escape from the fantasy he's living in. This has got to be one of Jim Carrey's greatest performance. It was a chance for him to prove that he is an actor and not just a comic and he perfects it well. Ed Harris, a good actor gives one of his greatest performances ever as Christof, the creator, the "father" and the villain who obsesses with the Truman Show so much that he makes Truman a prisoner in his world.

There are some flaws though. Why did Christof have to obsess about Truman so much? What was so special about Truman that made everyone watch him on the TV? And what was Christof trying to prove in his show? That people's private lives must be watched by others? Though the flaws kind of drag the movie a little, it is nonetheless a masterpiece and one of Jim Carrey's greatest and I think he should play more dramatic roles that one day will get him a Oscar that he deserves.

9 out of 10.

Hoosiers (1986)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Greatest Sports Movie Ever!, 29 December 2005
10/10

I've been a huge fan of Sports movies, but Hoosiers tops them all! This is the greatest sports movie ever, with a spectacular performance by Gene Hackman who plays a coach with a troubled past that transforms an average looking high school basketball team from Indiana into state champions. And to do this, he makes them work really hard. At first they are all frustrated but once a kid named Jimmy Chitwood joins the team, they start winning games and reaches the state playoffs and defeat an all black- team to become Indiana State Champs! Other noteworthy performances are by Barbara Hershey as a teacher who can't stand basketball and won't let Jimmy play; but eventually Jimmy joins and she falls for Hackman, and Dennis Hopper as one of the players' drunken father who knows a lot about basketball and becomes an assistant coach. This is probably Hopper's best performance and I think he should have definitely won the Oscar for best supporting actor.

Let me say that this is definitely one great movie that families should watch. My advice to athletes whether in high school or college should believe in themselves. Good luck will never come your way unless you believe that you're good and you're willing to give it your all to win it all.

10 out of 10! Must see!

Stalin (1992) (TV)
13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Intriguing and Stunning. Duvall's Greatest., 11 December 2005
8/10

Probably one of the TV movies I had never heard about until I watched it 3 years ago in history class. This movie details the life of Joseph Stalin, the notorious Communist leader, brought to life by a stunning Robert Duvall who brings out his greatest performance ever.

Narrated by Stalin's daughter Svetlana, this begins with Stalin joining Lenin and the Bolsheviks in their fight against the government, eventually setting up their own government themselves. Most of his biography is well known to us, however this movie brings out the character of Stalin as a psycho villain who did not trust a single person, not even his associates and took extreme measures to exterminate them all. His ego and paranoia alienated him from his friends and his family, even to the point where his wife (Julia Ormond) commits suicide and young Svetlana hating him. But in the end, he does not change and this leads to his downfall and death.

Although the film does suffer in pacing, it is the performance of Robert Duvall that makes it worth watching. In my opinion, Duvall is simply the best actor out of the Godfather series, better than Brando, Pacino, De Niro or Caan. His performances are real and endearing as he simply becomes Stalin by portraying the ruthlessness and paranoia of the mad Communist dictator; a man who could not be solved by his friends or family, and who could not be controlled by anyone even himself. The supporting cast headed by Julia Ormond as Stalin's wife, Maximillian Schell as Lenin and Roshan Seth as Berin do well, but it is Duvall's show all the way. This TV movie is what is not shown in history textbooks. It is engaging and real, but not a masterpiece. History buffs will enjoy watching this, trying to put the pieces together about the madman known as Joseph Stalin.

8 out of 10.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Robin Williams at his best, 11 December 2005
8/10

Probably one of his best known films in the 90s, Robin Williams is at his comedic peak here as he protrays a divorced, out of work actor desperate to see his kids. So he disguises himself as a nanny for the kids, when his ex-wife (Sally Field) is at work. And how he is able to maintain this as well as his own life and career is the rest of the story. This brings full of laughter when Mrs. Doubtfire is trying to cook for the first, or when the housekeeper is with him and he has to alternate between the two. However, this is pretty much a heartfelt story about a man who can't bear being separated from his kids and doing everything in his power to see them. Sometimes the film overdoes itself, but Chris Columbus is able to maintain the film between its over-the-top comedy and its deep message to families.

Robin Williams is at his acting best, both comedic and dramatic wise. What can said that has already been said by others? He is a genius. Sally Field does well in a role tailor-made for her as a frustrated wife who can't stand her husband, but falls for the charms of Mrs. Doubtfire and begins to trust her as a friend. Everybody else gives great support. Good family film to watch when you're bored and need some light hearted humor. Williams in full form. 8 out of 10.


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