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4/10
Disappointingly stupid.
12 December 2008
Not much to say about the film. Intelligent sci-fi is the last thing I expect from mainstream Hollywood these days and this pathetic excuse of a film is no exception. The 1951 version of this film was at least, original. Here we are loaded with stupid dialogues, utterly predictable plot twists and the regular dose of how self-destructive humans have superior family values than technologically advanced alien civilizations. And we have morals, people... that if you throw litter in the park and screw the environment a giant alien ball will come from the sky to kick your ass.

Keanu Reeves is so good at playing aliens, androids or the glum depressed mental. Here his Klaatu is very apt. Jennifer Connelly is a good versatile actress who deserves better lines and better roles. But what I understand is that she has to star in these movies once in a while to pay the bills. Jaden Smith and Kathy Bates are good as the cute kid and the tough defense minister respectively, but good performances only work well with good script, which sadly is missing. Even Gort, the giant robot, is so badly used in the film. The 1951 version at least had Gort as a very interesting element of the story.

Oh and the 4 stars are for special visual and sound effects. Hollywood's good at that.
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8/10
High adrenaline action trip
1 December 2008
Being an ardent fan of the Bourne movies, my suspense was all built up before I sat down to watch this third installment. This is the film where all questions regarding Bourne's past are supposed to be answered. The screenwriters crafted a story compelling enough to keep the viewer occupied before coming down to where Bourne started. Director Paul Greengrass, like "Supremacy", again shows that he knows his job of directing an out-and-out action film very well. Although I'd comment that his trademark shaky hand-held camera technique is quite over-used here.I don't think all action sequences required that.

Matt Damon is once again his composed and physically super-fit Jason Bourne persona. Among the other actors David Strathairn steals the show as the CIA project chief Vosen. The role of Nicky Parsons is extended in this film and Julia Stiles does a good job at it.

The action sequences are phenomenal. What makes Bourne films tick is that they attempt to use more modern and different action styles other than simply car explosions, gunfights or chase sequences. The scene where Bourne runs through successive buildings and rooftops in Tangiers is just breathtaking. The use of Keysi fighting methods in the close combat sequences are impressive. Team these up with Greengrass' hand-held camera and sharp film editing and you get Bourne's adrenaline rush.

Read here in IMDb that they're making a fourth Bourne film. Now that Bourne knows his identity it would be difficult to find a suitable storyline as compelling as these were. But lets hope...
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8/10
Scott shines again... along with two of the best actors of our time.
17 March 2008
Ridley Scott loves his villains. He has always attempted to show the characters with questionable morality in a new light. His characters are never black or white... they just roam in different shades of grey.

Frank Lucas, the character on the other side of law, a drug lord in 70s New Jersey, is Scott's principal character in this film. But Scott would never paint him out-and-out dark with villainy. He needs someone who would play it just according to the right shade of grey. And here we got Denzel Washington. In the scene where Frank shows his newly-bought mansion to his mother and says - "Momma this is your house" ... and in the scene where he puts a bullet through someone's head in the middle of a crowded street - Washington is equally convincing, a delightful screen presence.

These stories particularly need a 'good cop'. High morals, troubled personal life, on the verge of career end, standing alone among his corrupted colleagues - you know the stereotype. This is Ritchie Roberts played by none other than Russell Crowe. Crowe is proved champion in playing such diligent, meticulous characters. Here his accent, attention and mannerisms are perfect. Josh Brolin is again awesome in his supporting role.

Based on a true story, the screenplay does a good job in curbing the need of first-person narrations in such a story. It is surprisingly low-key, but is able to deliver the required amount of tension and style. The action sequences are extremely well-balanced, ruthless but never seemed tiring. "American Gangster" is definitely one of the best movies of 2007... but it falls short of absolute greatness, for a reason somehow unknown.
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Blade Runner (1982)
9/10
A pioneer in the genre of sci-fi.
24 August 2007
This is one of the five timeless classics that literally shaped the genre of science fiction in modern cinema. 'Blade Runner' is shockingly original in its concept, with considerable depth in its theme and vision. Much has been written in the other user comments about the story and its philosophical implications, the acting, the screenplay etc. I just want to focus on two major aspects of the film.

The film brilliantly captures PKD's vision about the future. PKD has always outlined a rather dystopic society, with paranoia screaming out of its every corner. The film's use of dark sets, smoke, faded light, night-time rain, broken buildings, exotic people has effectively set the right mood for what PKD had dreamt of - a society on the verge of breakdown, living on the edge with crime, corruption and misused technology. All credits must go to the art/set directors, the cinematographers and of course to Mr. Scott himself.

The original music is just breathtaking. Vangelis created the right sound for every mood, mostly dominated by paranoia and fear of the unknown. The use of foreign music in many scenes only add to the vision of cultural complexity.

The director's cut is vastly superior than the original release not only because it excludes the voice-over, but because of the brilliant extra footage and altered ending. It designs a more perfect way to throw out the question whether Deckerd himself was a replicant or not.
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6/10
Fun enough...
23 June 2007
Another little comedy to show off Jim Carrey's talents... still it never became boring or felt like recycled stuff. In every comedy he's in, he brings something new in his mannerisms and approach to the character. In addition, Tea Leoni pulls of a nice Jane... a rather plain one who's continuously updating her character. Her performance is a real starrer in the film.

There are a number of actually funny humor sequences in the film. Some of them are quite innovative. The first robbery scene in the departmental store is just totally hilarious. I have seen the 1977 version starring Jane Fonda, and somehow this remake suited for me better. That's partly because of the script and the casting of course.
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The Departed (2006)
7/10
Entertaining and well-acted... but definitely over-rated.
26 May 2007
First of all, best Scorsese film? Please, forget "Taxi Driver", "Raging Bull" or "Goodfellas"... even "Gangs of New York" had more passion, class and originality. Scorsese just used all of his old violence shots and visual tricks once again and somehow the Academy suddenly rubbed their eyes and said "Oh we've overlooked the guy for so long. Come child, here's candy!"

I'm not actually dissing the movie though. It's got a smart plot, although that's influenced by the classic Hong Kong film. It's got thrilling action sequences, moments of sheer suspense and a very entertaining ending with well-crafted plot twists. The original score is just plain awesome. The allover acting is top-notch... Leo DiCaprio does a very convincing job while Matt Damon's performance is somehow a bit flat. Jack Nicholson is damn charismatic as usual. Among the supporting roles by Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg, it's Mark who steals the show with his impulsive and ever-sarcastic persona.

Then why is the film so far from being perfect? The storycrafting and the screenplay of course. The characters are, well, pretty one-dimensional, shown in black or white... especially Colin Sullivan. Even Dicaprio's character just whines about his job, but that's all. The supporting characters, except Dignam in the end, fail to add enough substantiality to the story. The story itself moves unrealistically fast... thereby leaving the audience completely fooled by its occasional flashes of action sequences. The dialogues, oh god, what can I say? Using the word 'fuck' in every line more than once neither makes the screenplay a classic, nor makes it realistic.

To summarise, "The Departed" is violent, smart, well-acted and also a well-directed thriller. But it's definitely not more Oscar-worthy than Scorsese's other classic works for one simple reason - it's not quite original. It offers nothing new.

And that's that.
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Babel (I) (2006)
9/10
Extremely original and thought-provoking.
25 May 2007
Babel is one those few movies which is made from the beginning to the very last scene with the one thing - excellence. Its extremely eccentric choice of plot and its execution make it another modern-day classic. The four seeming different stories in four very different cultural backgrounds are beautifully shown to convey similar messages to provoke our thoughts and indulge into discussions.

Four different story lines continuing in three different locations... and not in the same time frame either. It was really the director's challenge to keep us equally interested in each story while having a deliberately weak link among themselves. The story set in Japan might seem entirely disconnected from the beginning, but frankly, who cares? It was extremely well-written and well-acted, and conveys the similar central theme about family importance or how we take wrong decisions. The two stories set up in Morrocco are indeed excellent. Besides the film's central themes, they also portray the still-existing cultural prejudices between the developed and the third-world countries with a bitter ironic twist about the importance of death in these two cultures. One could say that it's somehow a slap in the faces of those of us who talk big words about terrorism from our easy chairs.

And how can I express enough praise about the film's overall acting? From celebrated actors like Brad Pitt and Gael Garcia Bernal to the unknown faces who portrayed Youssef or Ahmed or Cheiko, somehow they all managed to be inspired by the film's inner elegance and let out their best efforts. And they were accompanied by the most brilliant screenplay and cinematography as well.

Babel is not a film to watch in a tired mind. Make sure you have the enough time and circumstances to just sit back and think, after you see this film.
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9/10
Whitaker's Amin had 'Oscar' written over his face...
15 May 2007
"The Last King of Scotland" is definitely one of the best movies based on real events ever. Though the film is not entirely fact-based... it's told from a fictional character's point of view, but the audience, particularly those who were around in the time of Idi Amin's regime can breathe realism in its every minute.

The introduction of the storyteller, a young Dr. Nicholas Garrigan, was important to create subjective angles. Yet the character is not at all as inert as one would seem. He is perhaps the leading character in the film, not Idi Amin. And Garrigan's character is wonderfully designed... with his initial careless nature, his sexual (mis)adventures, his later concerns and helplessness etc. James McAvoy does a fantastic job playing this role. The essence of the character is beautifully captured by him.

But everybody knows if there's one reason to see this film that'd be Forest Whitaker's performance as the infamous dictator. Whitaker captures the character's brutality, insanity and his weaknesses in their most minute details. Whitaker seems to know what it takes to be a dictator. His work had 'Oscar' written over it.
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Spider-Man 3 (2007)
7/10
Good enough... but tangled up too much.
5 May 2007
Oh how we love those summer blockbusters... it's true we expect too much from them, especially when they're sequels to really quality films. And it's also true we pounce to criticize them with harsh cruelty when they fail to meet our expectations. 'Spiderman 3' is a perfect summer blockbuster at its own credit. But it has got two wonderful movies as its prequels... so, it faces a tough challenge.

Three villains... one of them my favorite - Venom. Where the movie really fails is its attempts to show the backgrounds of all three of them. OK, the goblin needs no background. But Venom gets the least screen time and I'm not satisfied. A good villain needs time to grow... See, all of the major Spidey villains have their brighter pasts from where they slowly transform to villains. In this film this transformation is hurried and shown abruptly, which quite kills the movie's mood. I believe the film wastes more time on Sandman than it needed.

Another major aspect of the film is Peter Parker's alter ego as the black spiderman after he's infected by the symbiote. I loved the sequence in the jazz club for sure, but I also think the character is shown overtly egomaniacal and unnecessarily irritating. Maguire tries hard to create the contrast between the real Peter and the infected Peter and thus in both cases, he over-acted. Along with his acting, several scenes are also written with excessive emotions and often they are laughable.

But, there are also numerous bright points in the film of course. I just loved the use of humor in this film... especially in scenes involving JK Simmons and Bruce Campbell. And the special visual and sound effects are awesome, you know, as they should be. The fighting sequences, though not very innovative, but always fun to watch. The overall acting is not bad... with James Franco and Topher Grace both stealing the show.

So, to wrap it up, one would definitely enjoy the film. But every time I think about Spidey2, I compare them... and this one somehow loses.
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House of Wax (2005)
6/10
Typical... fun though.
3 May 2007
Well, the usual Holloywood-style horror-thriller movie... with young protagonist group (that typically includes one black guy, one slutty girl, one sensible girl and one hero guy) and creepy psychopathic villains. Though here the villain kills people and makes wax figures out of them, this is basically another little slasher movie.

Some of the scenes are indeed violent and shocking, none actually scary though. Elisha Cuthbert looked very beautiful and became the major attraction to watch the film. The scenes involving the wax figures were fun to watch. And... I don't know, that sums it up perhaps.

Oh yes, we all cheered when Paris Hilton died.
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The Break (1995)
4/10
Cliché everywhere... and with technical mistakes too...
23 April 2007
Well, the film was relaxing to watch of course but in the end the viewer is bound to get tired of all the clichés in the story. All the characters, the words they speak and the things they do are utterly predictable and unimaginative. The screenplay is poorly written and the acting is not upto the mark either.

But the most irritating thing is perhaps the technical mistakes about the game of tennis. In this film the umpires call out "double fault", serves are called out by umpires, not linespeople, the deciding last set is played with tie-breakers etc. Why should a film about tennis contain such errors about the game? At least show the facts right!
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The Reaping (2007)
5/10
Another lame and cheesy religious horror film...
21 April 2007
The movie talks about all the bizarre incidents that indicate that a small town is perhaps experiencing the 10 Biblical Plagues. Enters Katherine Winter, a Christian missionary-turned scientist who specializes in providing scientific explanations to all the religious miracles that happen everyday. Silly me... I didn't do much homework before seeing this film and here I really thought that in the end she could logically explain what was going on.

Instead, the film turned into another typical Hollywood mess with cheesy visual and sound effects. The story remained the same little-understood religious babbling and the ending turned out to be utterly ridiculous, and a bit predictable too. The director shot some nice locations in the countryside though. And the acting was not bad either, with Hilary Swank and David Morrissey both playing their roles quite well. But in the end, it's the same old lame Hollywood-style horror/thriller flick, and I've really got tired of them lately.
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Blood Diamond (2006)
8/10
Brutal... both in violence and honesty.
10 April 2007
'Blood Diamond' is another typical example of a class of Hollywood movies that makes you sick but you cannot leave the theatre until they end. The film gruesomely portrays the social aspects of civil war in so-called third-world countries... child soldiers, slavery, prostitution, political corruption at their best. The opportunistic standpoint of the Western developed nations in such matters is also delicately pointed out. And all these are brilliantly done with the help of three totally different characters: a poor fisherman in Sierra Leone who accidentally finds a large diamond in the conflict mines, a tough "white trash" smuggler of conflict diamonds and a no-nonsense American journalist whose primary goal is to sell a good story.

The film is extremely well-acted. Leonardo DiCaprio again effectively sheds off his boyish charm in this tough criminal role of smuggler Archer and his Academy Award nomination is hundred percent justified. Jennifer Connelly did not receive the best dialogues, I must say, but she does a pretty believable job in this rather tomboyish role. But it's Djimon Hounsou who steals the show with his extremely passionate portrayal of the fisherman Solomon Vandy. Solomon is a rather complex character and it's wonderful to watch Hounsou's take on him, especially at that scene when he finally bursts out in the end when violence was constantly imposed upon him. May he receive more complex roles in future projects.

The screenplay, though wonderful to express the true situation of African civil war, appears exaggerated at times (e.g. the child soldier points his AK47 to Archer in the car and shouts "Who is this motherf---er?"). Some dialogues appear a tad too dramatic. The story suddenly seemed to rush right after the diamond was found in the end. Edward Zwick is an excellent director and we all love his works but here he fails to develop a new style of storytelling. All the scenes of violence and torture are just usually graphic and without any originality.

Still, this is one of the best films to come out in 2006... because somehow it's very honest. It doesn't exaggerate any of the characters. It does not take a stand to glorify one particular nation. 'Blood Diamond' must be an eye-opener to many filmmakers who often shout out morals in their films.
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The Prestige (2006)
8/10
Really dark and twisted...
6 April 2007
Christopher Nolan's latest offering from his brother's story is not only a dark and thrilling adventure filled with mysterious plot twists but also a brilliant character study. The two leading characters are written wonderfully and their style of never-ending rivalry was really a pleasure to watch. Their contrasting style as magicians, their markedly different points of view were really designed well. It was an interesting take on how success changed their lives in two different manners.

Like the characters they play, the two leading actors also constantly kept on trying to outshine each other. Jackman pulls off a very convincing and controlled performance as Angier, the perfect entertainer. But I must say it's Christian Bale who steals the show as the mysterious Alfred who never lets out a secret until it's time. His character has so many dimensions and his performance is just utterly flawless. You can see mystery in his eyes and smell it in his words.

Among the other actors, Michael Caine again delivers a purely professional supporting role. Scarlett Johansson as Olivia is somewhat one-dimensional and she did not receive the best dialogues too. It was fun to watch David Bowie as Nicola Tesla. I think he does a fair job to this sort of off-beat character.

Nolan's direction is the major thing which makes this film tick. He spreads the story into several non-linear segments and although it might seem confusing to the audience to follow the plot in this different time-period segments, it successfully enhances the atmosphere of mystery. The plot twists are never rushed and each takes its own time to grow. Although I didn't like the absurd basic idea behind the true explanation of 'transported man'... still the ending is excellently executed.

May the Nolans keep this quality up.
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6/10
Pleasant...
2 April 2007
A very relaxing movie with real understanding of early teenage. Evan Rachel Wood plays a very interesting character with real passion. All the other child actors also did their respective jobs quite satisfactorily. The script is wonderfully written which makes it a perfect early-teen movie without being perky.

The ending somehow becomes a little too predictable and the story should have included more of Emily's darker side of nature. But I understand this film to be watched mostly by much younger audience, so I guess it's better to keep her character such near-perfect. In the end, the movie is definitely pleasant and relaxing to watch.
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6/10
Enjoyable...
28 December 2006
If you liked the first Librarian movie you'll like it too. This film picks up right where the first film ended. This time the theme is good old King Solomon's mines... sometimes I really wonder how many more adventure movies will be based on this thing. The shooting locations are nice, the action sequences are entertaining. The ending is predictable, but fun.

Noah Wyle again does a very entertaining smart job as Flynn. But I'm not sure about the point behind casting old and partly anorexic Gabrielle Anwar in this physically challenging role. Yes, she was a real beauty in her times, but here she looks quite gross. Anyway, no need to dwell much into such trivial matters... the movie is sure to deliver what it's supposed to in the end.
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4/10
A boxing movie with Meg Ryan.
13 December 2006
That's what it is... a boxing movie where Meg Ryan plays a tough and smart promoter. You get the picture... and if you still don't, I'm afraid you gotta read the following.

If you do a bit research about the real Jackie Kallen, see Meg's been terribly miscast. She perhaps wanted to do a different type of role but here she does a rather disappointing job. The story is also somewhat predictable. Omar Epps and Tony Shalhoub did decent jobs though. In the end its the screenplay and perhaps Dutton's direction which failed it. The fight scenes are bland and are not passionate enough.

So, you better avoid this film. I respect the character Jackie Kallen. She should be given another opportunity.
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Casino Royale (2006)
7/10
Craig rules... any question?
12 December 2006
James Bond movies... since 1960s they have been faithfully delivering every aspects of popular entertainment in proper measures. Some of them are above average, some fell short. Still, in the end, you can predict the ingredients of a typical Bond movie - foolish political outback, advanced gadgets, Bond girls and sex scenes, gambling, some gunfighting, some physical actions, one "Bond, James Bond" comment, one "martini, shaken not stirred" comment etc etc. Then why so much interest about Casino Royale?

One is definitely Daniel Craig. The man's serious alright. This guy excludes all those air of funny sarcasm out of Bond's persona. And that overplayed sophestication of Pearce Brosnan too. Craig's Bond is thuggishly powerful, passionate, sometimes naive with a definite tinge of working-class diligence. He is more human. Now you not only appreciate James Bond... you 'feel' for him when he's beaten or betrayed, like I bet you've never done before.

The other is the director and screenwriter's calculated use of clichés and adding few changes... which perfectly fits the story and the mood. So at one place Bond says he doesn't even care about his martini shaken or stirred. Even the signature Bond tune is absent throughout the film except for the end credits. And I wouldn't spoil you the other changes but they bring definitely a fresh air to the franchise.

I love Eva Green. Here she's again with her mysterious appearance and magical presence. I must say that she's an excellent casting choice for this role.

Oh... I was about to end but one more thing: Chris Cornell rocks with his "You know my name"... one of the best Bond songs ever.
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Mean Girls (2004)
6/10
I'm ashamed to say it... but it's not that bad.
20 November 2006
I never imagine myself as someone who likes this type of movies. And yes, I don't like its 'type', true. But to put it plainly, there are several things in this particular film that make it stand out as something watchable, definitely. Let's point them out.

First, its first-person narration. It makes the film more accessible and deliberately flat. You don't have to stumble upon every cliché and wince. Because you know beforehand what's coming next. Secondly, I don't like Lindsay Lohan or Rachel McAdams or any of the actors. But somehow they really fit well in this film. All the actors are quite perfectly cast. Thirdly, its humor never seemed too forced. Some of them are actually quite original (like Kevin G's rap song) and fits nice into the story. Fourthly, the story itself is relatively more original than the others of this lot. I never actually lost interest in the middle.

There you have it. One of my least favorite genres, American teen comedy, producing a relatively decent film.
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The Omen (2006)
7/10
A nice remake in the end.
2 October 2006
Well, I should begin by saying that I don't consider the original a masterpiece. Surely it was classic but I never came to like it too much. So I wasn't that thrilled to see this remake. But in the end I gotta say, it came off pretty good and I'm now thinking to see the original again.

What really works for this film is its controlled desire of experiment and changing too much. The story is pretty much the same... only the context is updated according to present world affairs, the death scenes are more shocking and dramatic (the photographer's one is a classic!) and the acting is actually better. There's fine limited use of special visual and sound effects which adds to its scary atmosphere.

Julia Stiles is always a pleasure to watch. I wish her character had something more to do. Rod Shreiber does well imitating Gregory Peck to some extent. Mia Farrow is really a surprise attraction in this film. Her portrayal of Damien's nanny is quite a treat. And finally Seamus Fitzpatrick as the anti-Christ does a very subtle but effective job of being silently spooky...

Like everyone else, I too wish Hollywood pay more attention to original material. But sometimes a remake like this or two might not be that bad for a change.
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6/10
The film that set the stereotype.
23 September 2006
Watching the film now in 2006 obviously gave rise to lots of deja-vu feelings in my mind. So predictable, so stereotypical... yet I had to understand that it's made in 1967 and the other films actually copied from this one. Once you get that idea in your head, the film will appear as fresh and original as it could be.

Apart from the idea, two other things stand out to make a lasting impression. One is acting; Poitier is wonderful as Mr. Thackeray and Judy Geeson also did a good job. And two is the music. In the school dance scene the band played some really good music... perfectly capturing the flavor of that time.
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Munich (2005)
10/10
Simply another masterpiece.
22 August 2006
It is quite safe to say that "Münich" is among the five best movies that Mr. Spielberg made till date. With a topic shockingly relevant even after thirty-three years, Spielberg reaches out to both emotion and judgement of the audience. The main four reasons behind his achievement? The film's screenplay, cinematography, acting and of course his own trademark serious yet visually appealing style of direction.

Israel security officer Avner is assigned to conduct a secret government operation to kill eleven Palestinian high officials after eleven Israeli athletes were murdered in 1972 Olympic Games. He gets aided by four teammates with four entirely different characters. They travel to several European and Mediterranean countries in order to do so. The film effectively portrays the basis of so-called modern terrorism and speaks against those who justify it. The biggest achievement of the film is that it doesn't take any side. There is no hero in this film. Avner questions the utility of terrorism and counter-terrorism in the end but only after he carries out his mission.

Janusz Kaminski's ever-brilliant cinematography and Spielberg's ideas effectively blend in to generate some unforgettable shots in the history of cinema. Who can forget the dramatic midnight encounter and exchange of words between Avner's team and some Palestinian agents in that old room in Athens? Or when extreme paranoia strikes Avner at a time near the end of the mission? or when he's still haunted by the Munich murders even while having sex with his wife? The use of violence in this film is graphic and shockingly realistic and none of the scenes are actually uncalled for. The film majorly becomes a character study of every different mind related to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Yet the film remains absolutely neutral... almost passive. It doesn't even shout a message like "Terrorism is bad" or something. One can imply anything from it.

Eric Bana plays the role of Avner with great perfection and style. He effectively catches that vital bit of determination of the character behind his gentle and calm demeanor. Geoffrey Rush also deserves much praise as Avner's superior officer in the Government. Daniel Craig and the actress who played Avner's beautiful wife also did well.

While Ang Lee's work in Brokeback Mountain is passionate and personal, Spielberg's in 'Münich' is almost hard realism. Spielberg doesn't voluntarily evoke the audience's emotion by exaggerating a particular scene. But who cares? he will surely win more Oscars in upcoming years.
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5/10
The score is not perfect, but has some right notes.
19 August 2006
Six students plan a heist operation to steal the answers of their upcoming SAT... the plot is simple and definitely not that original. The characters are quite stereotypical, they speak predicted dialogues and their actions don't prove any innovation of the screenwriters. Still, this movie produced by MTV doesn't appear as boring, irritating or silly. On the other hand it has some occasional funny moments like Francesca as Trinity in her daydream etc.

The cast is actually the main reason I watched this film. Scarlett Johansson looks great and pulls off a nice professional performance. Erika Christensen and Chris Evans are also there but I didn't recognize the other guys. The bottomline is that I didn't really think this movie is bad at all... it's a fine one to watch in a relaxed mood.
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Garden State (2004)
9/10
A wonderful film that speaks of a generation.
12 August 2006
"Garden State" is simply a beautiful movie, an example of the versatile genius as a writer and director of Mr. Zach Braff. The originality of its story, its dialogues and its characters are unique. And as a twenty-something sitting in this 2006, I surely felt this personal connection to this film. It speaks of my generation, in a way few other films could.

Mr. Braff must have written the characters Andrew, Sam and Mark out of personal experience... otherwise the standard of their originality is really hard to achieve. Sam, as free-spirited as she could be, captures the audience from her very first appearance with the brilliant line: "Are you really retarded?". And Mark with his 'I-don't-give-a-shit-to-this-life' attitude is also a character to relate to. But surely Andrew Largeman is the strangest character. Many of his traits are quite obvious, predictable, natural... still there are some depths we cannot measure and that makes him so unique, so like all of us yet so different.

As an actor, Zach Braff does a fair job, but couldn't get entirely out of his "Scrubs" persona. Peter Sarsgaård also brings a nice touch to the character of Mark. But it's Natalie Portman who steals the show as Sam. She brings out Sam's eccentricity as the most natural thing on earth, her sudden changes of emotion flow in her so easily. I must say this is one of her finest performances to date.

One last thing I must talk about as few other reviewers did and that's the soundtrack. It is wonderfully compiled according to the film's mood, featuring all of my favorite musicians and all the songs are used in totally right moments... what can I say? From Coldplay's "Don't Panic" in the very beginning to Paul Simon's "The only living boy in New York" to Frou Frou's "Let Go" in the end, the film is a magical journey of real good music.

"Garden State" is one of the best movies that came out in 2004... but to those who can personally relate to this film, it's much more.
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New York Minute (I) (2004)
5/10
Ah, was it really that bad?
6 August 2006
The film is not good... that's okay, because I didn't expect it to be. I knew this is another Olsen twins comedy film targeted to early teens with lots of advertisements of American teen lifestyle. The story, the characters, the dialogues -- everything was hollow and baseless. The film also preached a little family values in the end. But none of these were actually unexpected.

I watched this film on TV with my cousin and sister and their mindset got enough satisfaction. It is pointless to judge the film from my point of view as I'm not it's target viewer. But if I consider a normal fun-loving 15-year-old I see enough elements in this film to please him e.g. the Simple Plan concert sequence. It's definitely not the worst teen film. I've seen worse... many times.
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