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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Didn't really impress me, 13 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's a bit tough for me to review this one. Some of my friends said it's one of the best movies out there, a true classic. So I gave it a try and in the end it left me a little unimpressed.

I don't have much to say about it because it failed to truly captivate me with its story and characters. The main theme is racism, but I didn't feel this movie explored it in a completely satisfying way, or at least in a way I haven't seen before. The story was pretty simple: the guy is a delinquent (Neo-Nazi), we see his life, he goes to prison, gets some kind of a realization after bonding with a black man, decides that his past lifestyle was wrong and becomes a better man after he's released from prison.

At some points of the movie, I felt that the actions by some characters weren't appropriate or literally came out of nowhere with no build up like Derek murdering people in the middle of the street. And the moment at which film didn't do well was the most important one - the scene in which Derek realizes the consequences of his actions, how bad of a person he was and how little he devoted himself to his family. It just left me unsatisfied. It wasn't captured very well. The events that were supposed to lead him to this point lacked a bit in the execution department. The script left much to be desired here.

With that said, this is not a bad movie. There are some great performances here. Norton and Furlong did a particularly great job. Danny's tragic fate also offers something to think about. However, the shortcomings of script and execution prevent it from being truly great. As it stands, it's just an OK film with an obvious message - racism is bad, don't be a delinquent.

Modern Western, 13 January 2013

For me, every film with Christian Bale or Russell Crowe will surely catch my attention. And both in the same film? You can count me in!

This film is a remake of the 1957 film of the same name, which I haven't watched. What I like about this film is that it really has an atmosphere of a western movie. You've got cowboys, gun fights, bandits, sheriffs and so on and it will certainly please western fans who haven't seen one for a long time. But you don't strictly have to be a western fan to enjoy this movie. It isn't just plain shoot'em up kind of film where the protagonist can hit a hat from 100 meters while firing from his hip. It has an intriguing story and relatable characters. Russell Crowe and Christian Bale are undeniably the carriers of this film. Their characters' conversations are always tense and interesting and through them we get to know their motivations and way of thinking. The dialogue in this film is really well done and it shows that these characters aren't simpletons and that each of them has some depth. Action scenes are also tense and fun to watch. I was at the edge of my seat, especially towards the end.

It isn't the best western ever made, but it is a very well made film with Crowe's and Bale's master acting as the highlights. Definitely worth your time. And of course, if you are a fan of Bale or Crowe, don't miss this one.

Life of Pi (2012)
7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Master Filmmaking!, 4 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I can't express how thankful I am to Ang Lee for taking on this project, which was deemed impossible to make by many filmmakers. This is definitely the most challenging film in Lee's career since Brokeback Mountain.

One of the most beautiful films in recent time, Life of Pi is a great mix of humor, drama and adventure carried out by an incredible and original story. I never found myself rolling my eyes even though we see a boy on a small boat with a tiger for the most part. This is also the reason why this film was a big gamble. It's tough to make something eventful out of this premise without demanding a very high suspension of disbelief from the audience, which will hinder their enjoyment. Thankfully, Ang Lee and co. knew how to execute it in the best way possible. Actors did their job very well and were all believable in their roles. Suraj Sharma's performance stands out as the best. He was absolutely incredible in his first acting role ever! He can express sadness, happiness, desperation, fear, love, unsteadiness, interest etc with great prowess. His acting draws you into his character and makes him feel real. This just proves furthermore why Ang Lee is one of the best directors at the moment. Aside from knowing how to tell a story, he has an eye for talent and is able to "squeeze" that talent from actors.

The technical aspects complete the movie. The score is authentic and beautiful. The visual effects and 3D are just out of this world! Also, these aspects actually serve to enhance the experience and main themes of the movie. Effects are used perfectly at the right times and are in no way cheesy. The tiger is animated for the most of the movie and there's just no way to describe how brilliant and "alive" Richard Parker felt! It's absolutely stunning to watch him. I'm not surprised many people thought it was a real tiger the whole time.

Some people say the film is preachy, shallow, tries to make you believe in God, tries to be deep etc. I don't think it aims to do such things. It simply shows the beauty of nature and examines our love for stories, our imagination and our interest in faith. There are many metaphorical elements, which provide some interesting food for thought. There is also an angle that the whole story is actually an allegory and it's up to us to decipher it and interpret what actually happened. But even if you don't like open ended movies, if you just want to sit back and enjoy, I highly recommend this because the whole movie is a pleasure for eyes and ears. I don't think it's boring because I find the pacing surprisingly great. The exchange of drama and humor is perfect and the latter is executed very well - it provides genuine laughs.

One last thing if you decide to watch this: know what to expect. Don't expect a masterpiece in religious discussion or character exploration. Expect beautiful scenery, an engaging story that borders between reality and imagination and a magnificent Bengal tiger, all wrapped up in an adventurous journey of a young boy's life! One of my favorite films of all time - 10/10!