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P.S. - they are in no particular order, I just kept adding as I remembered more.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)
Rise of the Cobra - a mixed review
Just when the summer fest of big-action summer popcorn flicks was about to end, comes one more icing on the cake. This one is from Stephen Sommers (The Mummy, Van Helsing) and gives one helluva tough fight to Transformers movie series that shares similar origins in action figures. Although not much appreciated as a cartoon series (facing tough competitions from Centurions, SilverHawks etc), the movie brings the long-forgotten childhood toys to life again, in style. For those of you who don't know about G.I. Joe's, well they are are said to be the best of the best elite soldiers from all around the world, grouped to form a team, which on paper doesn't exists.
The movie takes no time jumping straight to the action, with fast pace science fiction forming the background story. Four nanomite (killer nano bots) warheads are sold to U.S. Army by M.A.R.S. industries which are then continuously tried to be stolen by the opposing minions of the villain, James McCullen - Baroness and Storm Shadow. Although they fail at first when G.I. Joe arrive to save the day, but then a planned raid on the G.I. Joe's lair gets them warheads, destroying of the Effill tower using nanomites, capture of Duke (one of the G.I. Joe's) and finally attack on Washington, Moscow and Beijing via Nanomites armed missiles soon follows. The G.I. Joe are always one step behind the insidious plans of McCullen and Cobra. The entire movie is one long action trip that takes the audiences from US to Egypt to France to North Pole in minor seconds with fights taking place deep in outer space to below the polar ice caps. Cool science, freaky gadgets and shiny swords - its everything packed in one flick. Not only that, the movie also successfully breathes life in the plastic figures (that G.I. Joe once were back in our childhood days) to real flesh and blood people sharing intense feelings like love and revenge. The childhood feud between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, the love plot between Duke and Baroness and the final rise of the Cobra Commander are all well planned and executed. All in all the movie no doubt provides moviegoers with bangs for their bucks.
Moving on to smaller (and more important) details - soundtrack, cinematography, action, direction and production design, the movie seems to fare much lesser than the Transformers 2 movie, which had a staggering promotion prior to its release. Although the action sequences are more one-one human fights than pure metal vs. metal approach viewers might tend to still give this one a lesser rating.
All in all, G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra, is a retelling of a good vs. evil theme echoing the same sentiment epics like Star wars have told - the greatest of enemies grow from within us. The rising of the Cobra is almost similar to the rising of the Darth Vader, although lesser in grandeur. (So all those who decide not to watch it in theaters, make sure they catch it when Dvdrip print comes out).
There Will Be Blood (2007)
a journey, a learning curve
It was the last hour,the last minute, in fact the last breath in which the miracle was performed and the humanity was redeemed,by the holy grace of the lord. Similarly in an year filled by spectacular masterpieces in terms of excellence and creativity from the American cinema, comes a story just before the year's end, a journey of human life - one that has all the points straight to remain human, told through such mesmerizing performances that an epic,not for an year, but for a decade is made.
Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (of Mangolia fame), and nominated for eight Oscars (including the best movie, best male actor and best director) the movie 'There will be blood' is set in the early the early years of 20th century, when north America was just developing, portraying the life story of Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) who starts off as a silver miner, but switches over to oil mining business.He comes across a vast untouched and unheard oil source, after being given a tip-off about the place, and then the entire movie seems to chronicle how he gets the land from the people settled there, how he strikes deal with big players in the oil market and how he strikes a fortune and becomes a millionaire. But then, there is Eli Sunday(Paul Dano), a priest who goes about calling himself a prophet, stumbling into every single move the oil businessman tries to make,trying to throw his life out of balance every time it somewhat intends to come on track.Apart from the protagonist and the antagonist the movie has many a elements that separate it from the rest of the promising crowd of winner.The 12 year old son, that Daniel Plainview always moves around with, his step brother who seems to appear out of nowhere during the second half of the movie, the constant twists and turns that keep the story's protagonist to remain a normal human even in spite of his success, all promise to keep the viewers engrossed for the two and a half hour length of this movie.The second aspect that needs to be mentioned apart from the storyline is the engaging and soulful background score that has been used throughout the movie, such a score that it never lets the excitement of anticipation die out from the audience.Almost all of the background score consists of symphonies and music from highly reputed 18th and 19th century composers from across the Europe.
All these endeavors in this movie would have been in vain if the atmosphere that is created in this movie would have failed, but the producers have seemed to take care of this aspect the most. The scenes that are put up, drive hard the point that the movie tries to develop, the struggle that goes into oil mining during that period is certainly visually developed through the arid uncultivated terrains, dry lands and vintage machineries that the movie shows. The movie seems to develop slowly, delivering less and arousing the desire to know more about the characters. The excellence of the director is clearly achieved as he delivers more than his previously directed works. But the depiction is Daniel Plainview, a character that grows from a small time miner into a confident man and to a ambitious person later, who puts his only relation i.e.with his son at stake for his desires, is very judiciously done by Daniel Day-Lewis. Having won an Oscar previously and having an experience of old time-western movies (Gangs of New York) he seems to breath life into the character of Daniel Plainview perfectly. His counterpart, the priest who proclaims himself to be the third revelation, a messiah figure, and a constant hinder to his aims adds the needed flavors of hate, passion and struggle to the movie.Paul Dano,who previously impressed audiences with his side role as 'silent'brother in 'Little Miss Sunshine' carries out the role to the maximum possible shades it can portray.
The movie is more a journey, a learning curve that seasoned movie lovers would surely appreciate. But if you are someone who catches American movies occasionally, leave this movie for future times as this movie requires deep appreciation and understanding of the various complexities that this movie seems to develop upon. Following the likes of legendary classics like 'Scarface' and 'Godfather' this movie, ranked #20 at IMDb among top 250 all-time movies, this movie is sure to be a milestone in American cinema, and would be viewed with same awe even after decades.It has all the emotions that a human life can offer - excitement, ambition, passion, fear, hate, jealously, treachery, morality and realization.And as the movie ends - Oh,yes there will be blood.