Hi, I shall use this blog to broadcast my opinions on anything entertainment, be it games movies music. Haters welcome, always up for discusions

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Pineapple Express - 2008

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Brave 2012

I love PIXAR, those three words just say it all. Since their first big leap to the big screen with the beloved TOY STORY in 1996, I haven't doubted for a second that PIXAR produces quality, and only quality work of the highest callibre. Having highly anticipated BRAVE from the day it was announced, and being a genuine lover of all PIXAR films, I entered with extremely high expectations, I was anything but disappointed.

BRAVE centers around Princess Merida, a teenager determined to make her own path in life, defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.

Yet another outstanding, excellent and absolutely beautiful release from PIXAR, BRAVE exceeds in every aspect imaginable. Each character is lovingly crafted with depth, vividness, heart and sheer fun, while it's cast is unique, skilled and overly qualified in every way. Kelly Macdonald does a superb job with Merida's voice work, capturing the sense of teen youthfulness perfectly, while giving an exceptionally heartbreaking performance near the end of the film. It's plot is highly inspired and original, if a bit Disney-fied, made interesting with an unexpected twist, that had me hooked from the film's opening.

Despite being early marketed as quite a dark film, BRAVE features hefty amounts of stellar humor and memorable gags that literally had me, and certainly my packed theater, in stitches. Much of this humor originates from the triplets, Merida's three little brothers, who often get up to mischief, and are the cutest animated humans I have ever seen in a PIXAR film. With slapstick to appeal to both the young and old, verbal humor that will keep the grown-ups on their toes, and on-screen gags that leave you breathless in laughter, BRAVE will give you as many laughs as any other comedy this year.

PIXAR doesn't fail to impress when it comes to visuals, and BRAVE is no exception. Beautifully animated are the plains of Scotland, the CG forests on the outskirts of the kingdom, the intensely vivid characters and even Merida's beautifully textured hair. So it goes without saying that BRAVE succeeds with it's almost magical visual style, contributing to an equally stunning and immersive 3D experience.

But most impressive of all, was the emotional punch that BRAVE managed to pack. We know that PIXAR has left us emotional wrecks, one time or another after viewing one of their films, TOY STORY 3 has always been one to reduce me to tears (BRAVE was no different), but BRAVE, above all, does so in such a magical way. The films really is about Merida's relationship with her mother, a relationship that is so easily relatable to me as an audience member, and really how having a strong relationship with your parent can change your fate/life. A lesson reminiscent in FINDING NEMO, told beautifully in more depth here in BRAVE.

So, easily said with an overly talented cast, spectacular visuals and beautiful animation, fully immersive 3D experience, comedy just as golden in every sense, characters with heart, and a plot+moral with soul, BRAVE is a purely magical animated treat by the wizards of PIXAR, and definitely the best of the year so far.

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Avengers (2012)

I'm sorry to say The Avengers isn't a good movie; it's a GREAT MOVIE!!!! It's not only the best team superhero movie ever made, but it may just be the best comic book adaption made period!

The Avengers is the culmination of what began in Iron Man; and continued through The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America. It was only a few years ago that my son and I had just finished watching Iron Man and as the credits were ending, Samuel L. Jackson appeared on screen as Nick Fury and spoke to Tony Stark about joining Avengers Initiative…in that short scene, the framework for potentially the greatest comic book movie of all-time had begun!

Director Joss Whedon, most known for the T.V. series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, takes the foundation that was built in the prior films and brings together the greatest team of superheroes in film history, The Avengers: Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) as "assembled" by Nick Fury. Whedon's scripts usually include clever banter, gripping action sequences and an air of mystery and The Avengers is no different. Whedon has an utter love for comic books, and it is proudly put on display in The Avengers.

The cast does a great job of bringing these iconic characters to life, beginning with Robert Downey Jr. Unlike Iron Man 2, in which Downey seemed to skate through scene after scene, Downey plays Stark almost effortlessly, delivering his lines with relative ease allowing his charisma, charm and smugness to shine through; Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark! Chris Evans' solidifies himself in the role of Captain America. He was very good in his solo film, but truly owns the role standing alongside Iron Man and Thor. Chris Hemsworth's Asgardian god Thor has some incredible battle scenes and indirectly provides one of the film's most funny moments. After being seriously underutilized in Iron Man 2, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow is provided a back-story, which helps in developing the character and provides an opportunity to prove she is much more than just a pretty face; she's as dangerous psychologically as she is physically. I could envision myself enjoying a beat-down at the hands (and feet) of Black Widow. The character I was most concerned about being given little story and the least amount of screen time was Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye; happily, he's not left by the wayside and does a more than admirable job of developing the character. Hawkeye stands alongside Robin Hood and Katniss Everdene (The Hunger Games) as the best archers to grace the silver screen. I'd like to see more of him in a film of his own. Mark Ruffalo, the most recent choice to play Hulk, is far better suited to the role than Eric Bana (The Hulk) and Ed Norton Jr (The Incredible Hulk). Ruffalo looks more the part of the nerdy scientist Banner and plays the part without looking angry in every scene. In The Avengers, the Hulk is at his most impressive, both in his on-screen transformation and the violence he displays when the opportunity calls for him to "hulk out". If any character appeared to stand out a little bit more than the others, for me it was the Hulk. Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury is finally more than just the guy making surprise appearances. Fury is finally able to stretch his legs some, and Jackson slides quite easily into the role. Clark Gregg's Agent Caulson returns, and Cobie Smulders makes her Marvel films debut as Agent Maria Hill, and she is a welcome addition. The film's main villain is Thor's adopted-brother Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston. You would think the part would be a difficult one to play being opposite such powerful personalities and strong characters, but Hiddleston does a fantastic job; the performance should not go unnoticed, because it's one of the strong points of the film. Loki is not a villain without purpose and Hiddleston comes across as a devious mastermind without being cartoonish.

At a running-time of 2+ hours, The Avengers is well paced and time flies by. The effects are top-notch, the acting is very good, and the script drives the movie elevating its strengths. For viewers that may not have seen any of the other films (and if so, why not!?!?), we're provided just enough information to bring everyone up to speed without feeling overdone. Whedon provides more than just a standard comic book film, but a story with reason that's backed up with incredible action and humor.

Although the film is filled with larger than life characters, none are short changed; each character is given at least one great scene to work with, and the opportunities don't go to waste. The film's finale provides a deafening crescendo of action that is breathtaking. As usual with Marvel films, be sure to stay around for the post credit sequence, which provides a surprising reveal.

I went into The Avengers with unfairly high expectations, due to all of those that were involved, as well as the films that came before it. After viewing the initial trailers and not being blown away, I had set myself up for disappointment. It was only a matter of minutes after the film started that I was put at ease, and just minutes later when my expectations were blown away. I never imagined that it was possible to put onto the screen, what I was watching. I'm happy that Marvel had the sense to keep these properties to themselves and to move forward with these characters in the manner in which they did. Marvel Studios and Disney are going to make a boatload of money off this film, and deservedly so; because there's never been another movie made of its caliber.


Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sherlock Series 10/10

As a die-hard fan of the source material, I have tracked down and went through nearly every radio, television, film, and comic book interpretation of Sherlock Holmes - which run a mean gamut regarding quality, as you probably already know - and so I approached this incarnation skeptical but sanguine. Doubtful it would match the eminent Jeremy Brett series in quality, but hopeful it might preserve Conan's tone - something I think that series did well and the Downey Jr. movie did not.

To my surprise, and delight, this show just so happens to be the bomb-diggity. Let me explain.

Ever notice how lots of Agatha Christie fans complain when screenwriters change Poirot and Marple stories? I'm not one of them. I like new and different interpretations of those stories because otherwise, in the case of literary characters brought on screen, what's the point? What's the point if we film and re-film the same story, the same story which we've already read once, twice, maybe three times? Especially in many cases, what's the point when it's been done so perfectly before? In the case of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles has been filmed at least 24 times according to Wikipedia. So another iteration won't thrill me. However, one that takes liberties with the source material, i.e. bringing the characters into the 21st century, I'm all for it. Surprise me. That's what I say.

And there are two things I really love about this series. 1) For longtime fans there are many, many "Easter eggs" to discover in each episode. And, best of all, 2) My boyfriend loves this series. And I can't pay him to watch a Jeremy Brett episode. He did enjoy the Downey Jr. movie (as did I, I just prefer a less swashbuckling Holmes - one reason among many that I didn't love the film), but he's never excited to watch Sherlock anything. This series is different. He loves it. For any Sherlock fan that would like to get their significant others on the band wagon, this is a great gateway. (And my boyfriend's actually a very good barometer for high-quality mainstream television shows. Usually, if something's firing on all cylinders, he knows it. More risky fare - he's off-put.)

And, you may rightly ask, why should I give a crap what my boyfriend likes? Good question. I happen to be of the mind that TV and film can accomplish what my favorite art form - literature - cannot. The TV and film experience can be enjoyed by a group. Sure, book clubs discuss books, but with TV and film you and whomever you want to hang out with, experience story at the exact same time, in real time, and you can easily observe each other's initial, unguarded reactions. Plain and simple, it's fun to enjoy the mediums with others - to laugh together, to be scared, sad, thrilled, etc. It enhances the experience. I think literature's strength is the opposite. For me, the best thing about settling into a good book is that I'm alone. Just me and the test, together making up a story.

Well, if anybody has read this far, I apologize for the rant. But if you're on the fence about buying the DVD or renting it or whatever, take a chance. Take a tip from me. You'll be pleasantly surprised. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Friday, 17 August 2012

The butterfly effect


10 out of 10 for me!!! I am very glad I read the reviews posted by reviewers (thanks a bunch people!). I didn't see this movie in the theater, though I was intrigued too. After reading many reviews saying to watch the directors cut, I rented it and watched that version first. Wow was I blown away… I'm glad that I never saw it in the theater and instead saw the directors cut first. I actually was very teary eyed at the end as it made such an impact (and that never happens to me). Every now and then a movie comes along that makes such a profound impact that it takes a part of you with it, or changes you in some way. This was one of those movies for me. And I can count on one hand the movies that have done that to me… I can't give an unbiased opinion on this, but had I seen the theatrical version first, I probably would have given it an 8 out of 10 instead.

As with many movies, once they hit DVD, there is often additional scenes or a directors edition, and many times they are subtle additions or changes, not with this movie, mark my words. That is why it's important to watch the directors cut first. All this being said, I can see why they released the theatrical version instead as the directors cuts wasn't very Hollywood like. It would have been a risk to release the directors cut as the original theatrical version, but I think it would have done better (again my opinion). So just know the directors edition is more or less a different ending with one or two additional scenes in the middle to support it. But wow how 5-10 minutes of change can make a difference.

I certainly don't want to give much away in this review and for your sake don't read too many reviews or your bound to find one that will spoil it for you, and this is one of those movies that you don't want spoiled if you haven't seen it. So that being said I won't give any spoilers away. I thought the acting was well done by all the actors. The story line is intriguing and kind of Sci-Fi, but is one that you kind of have to accept the time travel thing up front, otherwise you simply can't get into the story. The effects were good, though they weren't a big aspect in my opinion, meaning I don't think the movie depended on them like so many others to succeed. Often times with time travel movies, you always have guys going ape over things and pointing out loopholes. Admittedly they bug me too when they are obvious. With this movie, it was either so carefully thought out or too much for my brain to handle, but in essence I didn't see any major plot holes. I thought the flow of the movie was excellent as it reels you in the more you go along, so much so that you don't even want to pause it to hit the bathroom.

If you like suspense, Sci-Fi's, drama's, `What if' kind of movies then see this movie (Directors cut first) and make up your own opinion. Then watch the theatrical version after. As said in another review, this movie is very involved and interwoven in that if you miss anything, get up to do something or tune out for a bit, you will loose your place and will get confused. So no getting up for pop corn, no bathroom breaks and no other outside interruptions without pausing it first, very important. In fact I would wait until you know you will have 2 hours to yourself before watching. Good nighttime movie. It also has good replay value too as you will understand things from a different perspective the next time around. I wouldn't recommended this movie to those who have been abused in there early childhood, or at least if you have, be ware. It can be a bit much at points as there are some sensitive scenes and I don't recommend to children at all. But the best movies IMO are the ones that chew you up and spit you out, and this one certainly does that.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Breaking Bad Review


First season took off a little slow. It settled up premise, characters, the mood of the show, its world, if you will. It has some great moments though, like body disposal scene from the second episode which made me choke on my own laughing tears.

Second season blew me away. Completely. Right from the very beginning. Second episode Grilled along with sixth episode Peekaboo,being so damn hilarious, bizarre and gripping, I'm sure, will fill find their places in the TV's Hall of Fame, trust me.

What third season will bring, has yet to be determined.

The show has quality to surprise. At first I was a bit skeptical toward it: A school teacher turns to be a drug dealer? Yea' I've heard something similar is already on TV, and I wasn't excited. So if creator of the show appeared to be someone else than Vince Gilligan (who made earlier in his career significant contribution to development of another great show "The X-Files") and if the show was on channel different than AMC or HBO, I even doubt I'd give it a chance. By the way, the pilot was shot with intention to be sold directly to HBO, that's why it later was edited for nudity and explicit language by AMC, which still is a cable channel, but apparently trying to remain more "family friendly."

"Breaking Bad" could be ridiculously funny and hellishly creepy, it contains some rough images and topics, not to mention that it's filmed astoundingly, unbelievably beautiful. Juxtaposition of plots, characters, places, even colors and sounds provides unique installments which had me on the edge of my seat, shaking with laughters and shivering with excitement and aesthetic delight.


Show's overdramatization brings us to the part which I praise the most: Style. It's kind of style that first puts before our eyes some quite clichéd soap-like picture: Common middle-America family consisting of middle-aged Chemistry high school teacher, his pregnant wife, and their cerebral-palsy-inflicted teenaged son. Then chain of circumstances invokes some highly absurd and eerie, often impossibly funny, unbearably scary and hopelessly sad situations. It's the kind of style you may find in 50's noir films, in pictures of French nouvelle vague, in characters of movies by Quentin Tarantino, the Cohen brothers and Robert Rodriguez.

In spite of the vortex of intense and dangerous situations the show manages to carry throughout all its episodes some unexplainable vibe of incredible, Buddhism-like calmness. As if we were told some sort of ancient myth or fable. Of course it has a lot to do with sophisticated work of cinematographers and subtle inputs of art designers. Although I usually prefer dark, foggy, shadowy – could be said depressing – cinematographic atmosphere ("Twin Peaks," "the X-Files," Millennium," "the Sopranos"), I found myself amazed by crystal clear images of "Breaking Bad." Insignificant and empty on the surface, yet filled with dimness and despair; New Mexican sun that doesn't burn you, it gives chills and almost numbs you in the end.

I'm not going to say anything about lead actor Bryan Cranston. His character doesn't speak that much either, it's all written on his face. Aaron Paul's character, on the other hand, has some mouth on him, but don't let him disencourage yourself, yo biach. Their intentions are good, in different ways. But you know the road to hell is paved with what, aren't you?

All of the above combines in highly unorthodox, exceedingly entertaining and fa

Monday, 13 August 2012

21 Jump Street

When I first came to know that (yet) another old TV show is dusted off for a big-screen adaptation, I wasn't that excited at all. After all, that show happens to be the once-popular 21 Jump Street which starred then-young Johnny Depp who became a star here before he gradually earned his distinctive reputation in the Hollywood cinema. Back then, the story about an undercover police unit composed of young-looking officers specializing in youth crime is refreshingly new. But now, it's seriously a worn-out cliché. Then there's the casting of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum -- oh, wait -- Channing Tatum does a comedy? I smell an immediate recipe for disaster here, but directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord's (2009's CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS) live-action debut here seriously caught me by surprise . For all those naysayers out there, this big-screen version of 21 JUMP STREET is surprisingly funny and very entertaining as well.

Like the TV show, the movie revolves around Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), two young-looking cops who both transferred to the 21 Jump Street division where they will be going undercover posing as students to infiltrate the drugs-dealing business that has been going on at a local high school. Both of them go by their names of Doug and Brad, and once there, they must find way to investigate the rampant use of a dangerous hallucinogenic called H.F.S. Their first lead is a dealer and classmate Eric (Dave Franco), whom they are trying to get close with, in hope that one day he will lead them to the mysterious supplier.

Story-wise, Michael Bacall and Jonah Hill's screenplay is actually nothing new at all. But what makes it refreshingly different than most like-minded script out there is the way how the execution is played out in such a hilarious manner. While there are times the script is trying too hard to be funny, rest assured most of the scenes never fail to elicit some genuine laughs. Thanks to the hard R-rating, Bacall and Jonah Hill let the story rip with all those colorful profanities like nobody's business. Added to that, is some of the worthwhile self-parody gags throughout the movie, especially the highway car chase scene involving the theory of exploding vehicles.

Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller knows well how to keep the pace as entertaining as possible, while the cast here are no doubt the main star attraction here. Jonah Hill proves once again he's one of the genuine comic talents working today, but it was Channing Tatum who totally hits the ballpark with his surprisingly hilarious performance. Personally, I always thought Tatum's acting skill is always wooden at any given genre he's been involving so far (action, drama, romance) but he's finally proved himself as an excellent performer. In fact, both he and Jonah Hill are terrific together. And that's not all -- the rest of the supporting cast are equally playful and memorable as well, including Brie Larson as love interest Molly and Ice Cube at his profane best as Captain Dickson.

Apart from a flair of comedy, Phil Lord and Chris Miller does show some genuine talents in term of delivering well-crafted action sequence. Case in point is the aforementioned highway car chase scene and the violent shootout finale. Overall, 21 JUMP STREET is one of the best action comedy movies really need to be checked out for. And while you're at it, there's a surprise cameo appearance (priceless, indeed) throughout the movie.

Thursday, 2 August 2012


I went with very few expectations, despite being a fan of Neeson and Besson. I came out pleasantly surprised. The film is very much in the Bourne trilogy mold - Neeson's character is a been-there-seen-it-all former CIA agent who knows all the tricks and is also a dab hand at dispatching henchmen quickly and effectively.

Another reviewer (while giving the movie 1/10) noted all the clichés in the movie. That is true, pretty much everyone is a composite of previous action movie stock characters. The acting is pretty wooden at times, and Neeson's American accent (as usual) doesn't overly impress.

I say above "could've been even better" and sadly it does seem like this was an opportunity missed to make a movie that would challenge Bourne. Sadly it falls short there. The action is excellent, Neeson is a very believable tough guy, though the audience I watched it with laughed towards the end when his character takes on almost-superhuman powers.

The film offers a very brief glimpse into the world of sex traffickers but you get the sense that Neeson's character doesn't care about any of these women except his daughter. I think in the end that saves the movie - Neeson doesn't try to save the world, he only wants to save one person and will do pretty much anything to achieve that.

Highly recommended, but don't expect any daring social commentary, just sit back and enjoy, while wondering why Liam Neeson has never tried his hand at any role of this sort before.

Monday, 30 April 2012

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Czech director Milos Forman seems to be obsessed with rebellious characters that don't like to go with the flow. Just think about Larry Flynt in "The People vs. Larry Flynt" or Andy Kaufman in "Man on the Moon", in the two most recent movies of Forman. The central character in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" played by Jack Nicholson is also one of those characters, that wants to break the routine and even starts a revolt against the staff and nurse Ratchett in particular, in a mental institution.

The movie is perhaps more comedy and entertainment than heavy drama. Still that doesn't mean that the movie isn't filled with some powerful emotional sequences. The tension between the patients and the staff gets more and more notable and grows throughout the movie, which eventually leads to a 'wonderful' ending which I'm not going to spoil.

Yes, Jack Nicholson is truly splendid in his role and it seemed like he was improvising all his lines and actions during the entire movie. It was a really Oscar worthy performances, which he also received. Another Oscar winner for her performance was Louise Fletcher, which in my opinion is a bit too much credit. She plays her role well but nothing more than that. She did not deeply impressed me or anything. This movie also marks the debut for some today well known actors such as Danny DeVito (he looked so young and different!), Christopher Lloyd and Brad Dourif, who also received an Oscar nomination.

Really one of those movies that you must have seen at least once in your life.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Finding Nemo

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/1c/Nemo-poster2.jpg/220px-Nemo-poster2.jpgI'll be totally honest and confirm to you that everything what they say about this movie is true. It's a brilliantly animated masterpiece with lots of humor that actually works and a plot that really brings tears to your eyes from time to time. The modern artists of Pixar never cease to amaze the audience in expanding their horizons. Finding Nemo is visually stunning and you can have nothing but respect for the people who created it.

I was more or less skeptic about watching it, because it was so overhyped ! Two days before it got released in my country, the TV and press loudly announced that the DVD broke all records in the USA during its first release-day. That's usually a sign of being typically mainstream and fake...but Finding Nemo is not. I'm allergic to fake sentiment and pathetic feel-good movies but I was really touched by this one. The moral and valuable life lessons are always present, but they're not shoved down your throat or thrown in your face all the time. This movie really relativates itself and that's important for a good comedy. And it's hilarious !!! Every side character in Finding Nemo (and there are a LOT of them) is exceptional and worth a mention. And the voices are cast perfectly as well...like the voice of Willem Dafoe for Gill, for example...a perfect choice. The character of Dory ( speaks through the voice of Ellen DeGeneres ) steals the show. She's an adorable blue fish who suffers from amnesia. She forgets what she's doing or going to every five minutes and that really leads to hilarious situations.

Movies like this aren't just being made for children exclusive... They're good for everyone to realize you have to entertain yourself from time to time and just to enjoy the little things in life. I recommend this to everyone in the world. No matter if you're 9 or 99 years old, Finding Nemo will bring a smile on your face and leave behind a warm feeling in your heart.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Scarface (1983)


The story turns around Antonio 'Scarface' Montana, an ultra-violent Cuban refugee who comes to the United States with less than nothing, and makes a place for himself at the top of the cocaine trade...

As a calculating man with a conscience, and extreme ambitions, Tony strongly begins to desire the things he sees a criminal high-roller enjoying, including his luscious lover... Heights his way out of a refugee camp by enjoying the chance to stab a former taker of Freedom, takes out rival dealers, gains the confidence of an important drug lord by eclipsing a local gang boss in Miami, and eventually makes it to the highest levels of the drug organization...

Pacino shows the results of greed and lust for power on the human psyche... He guns his way through the sunny streets of Miami where he got 'the world and everything in it.' With his ruthlessness, obscene dialog, and his negotiation skills, he begins to imagine himself invulnerable and above all others... He quickly moves deep to the world of gangs, and becomes more ruthless than anyone else can possibly imagine...

Michelle Pfeiffer looks dazzling as the addicted wife with no inner life... She succeeds in portraying the trophy 'object' navigating uncertain waters with her anti-hero... Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio happens to be the best in Tony's life, the only thing that is good and pure... Her revulsion at the end of the movie is so fiery that her whole head could have blown off... Robert Loggia exhibits a weak and fearful disposition, especially when faced with Pacino as a challenger... He proves to be a less-ambitious boss in a position of power... Steven Bauer shines as the man of charm, loyal ally and faithful friend...

The Oliver Stone-scripted 'Scarface' is a change in genre, lifting scene after scene of Hawks' classic while updating the rise-and-fall gangster saga to modern, drug-infested Miami... But, as always, the focus is on decadence, profanity and violence—memorably a sickening chainsaw murder, rather than on the psychological and social reasons for the hoodlum's psychopathic behavior...

I really hope they remake this, into an equally awesome movie with new guns and cars and explosions.

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Yes, it's true. Return of the King may have won more of the Oscars as the culmination of Peter Jackson's magnificent cinematic achievement, but history will in fact adjudge "The Two Towers" as the greatest of the three Rings. If Fellowship was a road movie and ROTK was a friendship film, then Two Towers is an unadulterated war movie of heroic proportions. Peter Jackson said he based it on "Zulu"- and we can see why. It has a dramatic intensity and flow which none of the other films quite share. Good against evil are so sharply contrasted that you could cut your fingers on them. TTT also has the best score Howard Shore has produced. And it has the best dialogue.

The screenplay explains (with barely disguised contemporary resonance) what we are protecting in Western civilisation when we defend ourselves against those who would wish to destroy it. When Sam tells Frodo that there are "some things worth fighting for", when Merry tells Pippin that there "won't be a Shire" unless they do something about it, when King Theoden laments that "the sun has gone down in the West" this film could be entitled not the "Two Towers" but "the Twin Towers". It is Miltonic in its scope. It is cinema as art.

Yes, one may quibble about certain Entish details, and I know that the Elves weren't supposed to be at Helm's Deem, and that Faramir is a little undeveloped, but does this matter? Not at all. The Extended version is better than the original, but does not need to make such a quantum leap as Fellowship managed with its EE. However it will be a film that is seen as a landmark in cinema. A trilogy which may never be bettered. And a reminder of what we are all here for

Friday, 6 April 2012

Toy Story 3

The best magic tricks in the world are ones that cannot be unraveled, reverse engineered or dissected to figure out exactly how they are pulled off. This philosophy is doubly applicable to Pixar's "Toy Story 3", the storyline-ending outro of the beloved Toy Story, uh, story.

I feel it relevant somehow to divulge my age, as it somehow validates the powerful emotions evoked throughout the film. I am a 28 year old male, who, fifteen years ago, was fresh into the teen years of supposed adolescence at the release of some weird, 3d animated movie (wait, they can animate with computers?) entitled "Toy Story". This was a pretty bold move, a calculated stroll to the edge of the cliff and a daring leap off into the thin air of creativity and innovation. And it was a hit, ensuring 3d animation a place right alongside (more or less) 2d animation. And naturally, Pixar would be at the forefront, leading the cavalry charge of digital animation ranging from great to gawd-awful.

"Toy Story 3" starts off as comfortably as possible, with our friends Woody and Buzz Lightyear doing what they do the best...playing with Andy in his world of make-believe adventure. We are then treated to some familiar Pixar progression, like abandonment, solidarity, coming back to friends, and the passing of the torch. Clearly, in the eleven years between this point and when "Toy Story 2" wrapped, a computer revolution or four has occurred, allowing a world of unsurpassed clarity, reality and imagination to shine through like never before. TS1's spark is TS2's candle, and that in turn is TS3's blazing sun.

Roll the last fifteen minutes of film. It became clearly obvious that the figurative tables have been turned, because a good number of the adults in the audience (including myself) were sniffling and teary-eyed, while the kids were looking up, likely thinking "jeez mom and dad, they're just toys, get over it".

Wasn't it conventional wisdom that just the kids get emotional over losing plastic playthings? With "Toy Story 3", Pixar has shown us one of the greatest magic tricks in modern showbiz history, likely not to be outdone or duplicated, that we all have very real and deep connections to our childhoods and to the things and people that allowed us as kids to be free, and innocent, and pure, and most importantly, to dream. This, to me, is a life lesson worth remembering, to infinity and beyond.

"Toy Story 3" gets 10 of 10 blazing stars

Friday, 30 March 2012

Princess Mononoke


http://thisdistractedglobe.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/Princess%20Mononoke%20pic4.jpgA few years ago I would have tossed this film into a collection of movies I like to call the rubbish pile. Recently, however, I have forced myself, with great difficulty, to open my mind and look at the entire picture. Instead of focusing on one or two aspects of the movie I do not like and formulating a biased opinion based on my hasty and clouded notions, I can now decipher both the good and bad points of a given flick. Upon watching Princess Mononoke, I must say I first thought it would be very difficult to look past the animation style and see it for what it was- a dynamic film directed be the highly acclaimed Hayao Miyazaki. After about ten minutes of dwelling on the follies (and there are, in my opinion, many) of the "anime" style of art, I became enthralled with the quickly unfolding plot and the subsequently dire fate bestowed upon Ashitaka, the protagonist of the film. After Ashitaka leaves his village to search for a treatment to remedy his affliction, I no longer cared that this was an animated feature; I was on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. I no longer disliked that every character had abnormally large eyes (though not over-sized to the point of utter absurdity) or that the English overdubbing was a little choppy. In fact, I even began to enjoy the accomplished yet subtle computer generated effects interspersed throughout. By the last half hour I was hooked to the screen, eagerly awaiting the conclusion I wanted so badly to end the bitter conflict of the plot. By the end, I realized that this movie carried a powerful moral with it: man's continuous tampering with nature brings about as much savagery as it does progress, as much suffering as it does good, and that a sound compromise must be struck between nature and civilization. I do not harbor any negative feelings towards those who rated this movie poorly, as I used to be one of those people. All I have to say to them is this: look at a both the visual and symbolic attributes of a movie before rating it harshly. If, after observing all these features and idiosyncrasies, you still wholeheartedly hate the film, then by all means give it a one. After all, what would the world be like if we were all did not criticize or question our surroundings?

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Game of Thrones


Do not believe any of those negative reviews. I honestly cannot understand why some reviewers have given this such a low rating. I think some people love the sound of their own voice and think their opinion is worth something and will be disagreeable simply for the sake of it.

Having said that, this show is stunning. I have never read the books and now I want to. There is so much crap on TV that is renewed year after year (CSI, House etc.) which uses cheap gags, pointless and sometimes ridiculous plots, unbelievable and many times one dimensional characters and yet all the truly great shows get cancelled.

There is enough brain-dead television. But once in a while a show comes along that transports you to another world and makes you believe in the magic of television again. Game of Thrones is one such show.

It is complex, multi-layered, surreal, vibrant, imaginative and it draws your eye in to the surprising level of detail, from the sweeping vistas, to the narrow dungeons, from the beautiful castles and magnificent trees, to the contrasting landscapes. It is worth watching just for the scenery alone.

Yes the acting seems a little cold and even wooden at times, but this is perfectly in keeping with the medieval look and feel of the show. Yes it is dark and gloomy, but again in keeping with the narrative.

The scripting is intelligent and well delivered by competent acting, led by Sean Bean perfectly cast as Lord Edard. Although Sean Bean is better known for brooding bad guys, he strikes the perfect balance between father, husband and Lord and soldier. He is well supported by other well known actors and many new to the scene.

After watching and sometimes enjoying Camelot, this show makes that one look more like "Merlin" by comparison. And where Camelot lacks in depth and scripting, Game of Thrones strikes the perfect balance between brooding medieval angst and wonderful fantasy story telling.

Even if you have never watched a fantasy show before, you should not miss this.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Incredibles


This film completely, utterly flabbergasted me with its brilliance. I've been a big fan of Pixar (along with a few hundred-million others), and I was aware that 'Incredibles' was going to be a departure from their usual fare, but WOW - this simply blew all expectations of what a 3D animated movie can be beyond the stratosphere, in my humble estimation. There simply can be no going back from this! I honestly think most people cannot comprehend just how special this film is. I cannot understand how anybody could see this movie and be anything less than astonished, much less be negatively critical of it. 'Incredibles' literally has it all, and in my opinion is virtually flawless - damn it, it IS flawless! How does one really define greatness in cinema? Quality of direction, scriptwriting, performance, production design, editing, photography, scoring - on all counts 'Incredibles' triumphs, with deceptively effortless ease. I say deceptively because nothing this relentlessly magical is achieved without unfaltering attention to detail and supreme craftsmanship. Brad Bird simply has to be acknowledged as a visionary and creative genius. I come from a graphic arts and visual design background and throughout the entire two hours of this movie I found myself quite literally unable to believe what I was seeing. It is all so breathtakingly realised. It is aesthetically beautiful and completely fearless in its execution. This is so much more than an animated movie. It is so much more than a comedy-drama. It is so much more than an adventure film. It is so much more than a comic book exploding into incandescent life before our very eyes. 'Incredibles' is nothing less than a milestone in cinema, and a totally transcendent experience. This IS what all movies should aspire to be!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Machinist

Christian Bale is Trevor Reznik, a machinist in an anonymous factory somewhere in America. He is obviously scarred by some past incident but what is it? He finds mysterious notes on his refrigerator, saying 'who are you?' He sees colleagues that don't exist. He seems to have lost it completely.

A Spanish production, but with Brad Anderson at the helm as director and an almost exclusively American cast, this is basically an American film. I must admit, I kept shelving this one, due to reasons I cannot really recall now I've finally watched it, but it probably had something to do with Christian Bale's insane weight loss and all the surrounding publicity. I assumed the film was all about Bale's loss of weight and not much more. A method boy in a film solely hyped for an actor's dedication to play the part, but the film blew me away, as simple as that. Christian Bale gives a solo turn here almost unseen before. No matter how many pounds he lost, it's a remarkable performance.

Director Brad Anderson succeeds brilliantly in conceiving an atmosphere that is so compelling, as one other user on the IMDb stated, 'You just HAVE to know what the hell is going on here.' I think that's the key factor in what makes this film so incredibly compelling. The whole setting is an anonymous industrial town somewhere in the US, that could be Pennsylvania, Michigan or upstate New York (actually, it was shot near Barcelona), but it doesn't really matter where the story is located. It's the atmosphere of estrangement that does it. And Christian Bale gives such an intense performance you really want to know his cause and background. Where on earth does he come from? We know he works in a greasy factory, but why is he skin-over-bone? Why hasn't he slept in over a year? Brad Anderson creates an atmosphere so broody and sleazy, it's like a netherworld, an urban nightmare. In a certain way it reminded me of the strange urban landscape in "Eraserhead" by David Lynch.http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2009/364/2/8/the_machinist_1_by_rubyjune.jpg

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Shutter Island


Finally, a horror/thriller that actually, genuinely scares the crap out of you. Not because it has fancy villains in masks or sadistic buckets of gore throughout. No, it scares you because it messes with your mind. Most will hate this movie, they don't like their brains being tampered with. I loved it. It's what we needed after all those gory R-rated and sometimes lame-duck PG-13 horror crap-fests.

The horror/thriller genre has been raped lately, with gore and scantily clad- women replacing the noir and terror that Alfred Hitchcock perfected in the '50s and '60's. Here director Martin Scorsese delivers in full blast, crafting a thriller in his own unique vision. The atmosphere throughout the movie is tense and unsettling. Slow as it may be, but it is crucial to the movie and it's genuinely gripping. Your attention WILL not be lost. The scenery is beautiful and finely done with no excessive lighting, grain or darkness. The editing by Thelma Schoonmaker is fluid and pitch-perfect, and never makes the film lose focus. The movie is based on a book by Dennis Lehane and is packed with twists and turns that will leave you breathless and uneasy. The movie cranks the breathlessness and uneasiness up to the power of 5. The music is also perfectly suited with the scenes. There is sometimes no music during suspenseful moments, and sometimes the music makes the scene even more disturbing and memorable. Alfred Hitchcock's noirish thriller style is back with a vengeance, here to teach today's moviegoers the REAL meaning of suspense and horror.

All the actors in the movie are in top-form. Once again, you can't go wrong with a Leonardo DiCaprio/Martin Scorsese collaboration. As the protagonist, we the audience are thrust into his shoes and we are about as confused and scared as his character is, we feel what he feels. It becomes a psychological trip that poses many, many questions about oneself, that to discuss them here would spoil the entire movie. There are some flashbacks in the movie, but all of them are important clues to DiCaprio's character. DiCaprio gives a stunning performance, once again tempting the Academy to give him another Best Actor nomination. DiCaprio gives a vivid portrayal of a vulnerable, haunted and ultimately terrified man. Apart from DiCaprio there's really not much I can say about the supporting cast, because they are all also terrific. Ben Kingsley; Mark Ruffalo; Michelle Williams; Max Von Sydow; Jackie Earle Haley; Emily Mortimer; Patricia Clarkson; Ted Levine; Elias Koteas; John Carroll Lynch. All of them.

In short, this is a psychological and frightening masterpiece that will make you scared, will make you think, and will make you seek psychological help. This is one of the best films of the year. See it, go in with an open mind and prepare to be blown away.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Monsters Inc


The best way to describe this movie in one word is; fun! "Monsters, Inc." is a movie you can easily fall in love with. It has some great fun character, some awesome moments and some well placed comical moments. "Monsters, Inc." is entertainment at its bests.

The voice cast is amazing. John Goodman and Billy Crystal form a great leading duo. Steve Buscemi is a great villain and James Coburn has a great voice that fits his character perfectly. John Ratzenberger as always is very entertaining this time in a role as banished Yeti.

The story itself is pretty simple but thats what makes it easy to follow and so much fun to watch. The movie not only knows how to entertaining but also knows how and when to emote. The combination of fun and emotional things is perfectly balanced and placed within the movie.

There is some great dialog but the true power of "Monsters, Inc." are the wonderful characters. Not is there only a wild variety of strange and weird characters but also some characters that are good for some serious laughs and Boo is simply adorable and a pretty fair representation of a kid in real life. Well done Pixar!

Pure entertainment for the entire family!


Friday, 2 March 2012

District 9


District 9 is a story about aliens who make contact with Earth and the relationships with humans and society. The creatures were set up in a makeshift home in South Africa's District 9. Control over the aliens has been contracted out to Multi-National United (MNU), a private company uninterested in the aliens' welfare. Their sole interest, alien technology and weapons. Weapon research would mean huge profits for the company. Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) is placed in charge of the filed operation to evict, remove, and place the aliens in a new holding facility. Conflict and tension threaten the operation as agents move in.

Don't be fooled. This isn't your typical alien sci-fi action movie. What got me was the believability. If there were aliens out there that were able to make contact with Earth, it seems it could have gone something like this. The way the perspective switches from mock documentary style to standard third person certainly contributes to it. "Real" news footage and interviewers tell the story in retrospect, as the events of the movie have already occurred when they are being interviewed. I think it all added to the realism of the experience.

Usually in these type of films, it's mostly mindless action and the story is lost. Not the case here. There's so much more to it. It's also about betrayal, loyalty, trust, relationships, and sacrifice. It can actually be pretty deep and thought provoking with many themes floating around. The film's really about the story which is really a fresh, gritty, original concept, which is good to see nowadays.

While the creatures can be most readily described as monsters, though they are like us. Family and friendship are still important ideals in their world. The film explores a fine line between human emotions and monsters. With all the selfishness, hatred, and greed within us, maybe we are the real monsters or at least that's how it can be perceived.

Neill Blomkamp does a tremendous job with the direction and realism of the film. Sharlto Copley blew me away. I was shocked to see this was his first acting role. The action sequences were well done as well. District 9 is a very unique sci-fi film, one that shouldn't be missed. Mind you, this isn't a film for everyone. It's violent, and many parts can be cringe worthy. Be warned but be ready for one of the best films of the year thus far.

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Lion King


While the Disney Renaissance presented us such great classics like "The Little Mermaid", "Beauty and the Beast", and "Aladdin", they released another movie that has talking lions and other talking animals and such great wonder also known as "The Lion King". Before I begin, let me ask one question: Why is it that every movie you have saw just literally become such great classics? It's because of their creative efforts and mere pride and this movie is one of them.

The story tells of a young cub named Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), the son of Mufasa (James Earl Jones) who is destined to become king of the Pride Rock. One day, Simba's ruthless evil uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) plots to take over Pride Rock by killing his father and tricks Simba into feeling guilty which causes him to flee from the kingdom never to return. Once he disappears, he meets two friends named Timon, a meek rat, and Pumbaa, a warthog who helps teach him the meaning of "Hakuna Matata". A few years later, after reuniting with his friend Nala, Simba, now an adult (Matthew Broderick) realizes that he doesn't know who he is anymore and is aware that Scar has destroyed everything that the lions had hunted for. He is then persuaded to return to Pride Rock and must overthrow his uncle to restore the kingdom to its rightful place.

After its success at the box office with $783 (Now $912) million dollars which marks this movie as the 32nd highest grossing feature film, everything else has been praised due to Disney and their intelligence.

The music score by Hans Zimmer and the songs written by Elton John and Tim Rice were considered to be successful in cinema history, The animation and characters were very memorable, The acting was superb and the cinematography was terrific.

The Lion King is one of the greatest animated movies of all time and is one of my childhood favorites that will teach me that this movie means no worries. Thank you Disney. With your charm and brilliance, a thumbs up from me.


Friday, 24 February 2012

Back to the Future

Back to the Future is one of those rare, almost forgotten, pieces of pop culture that, surprisingly, draws little attention to itself. Unlike such notable gimmicks as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jaws, and Independence Day, there aren't any low-budget leeches trying to imitate off this work and cash-in on its success. This is due to the near flawless script. Why it didn't win an Oscar, you're guess is as good as mine. Making a time-travel storyline as in this movie that doesn't fall into plot holes the size of Terminator's is exceptionally difficult. I'd know.

The film starts slow, and gradually accelerates as it progresses. You could almost call it a Jerry Bruckheimer movie for kids with Spielberg's trademark nostalgia. The characters themselves are typical stereotypes for a movie like this and none of them, not even Marty himself, gel with potential. In some ways it's as if MAD magazine made the film in an attempt to be serious.

With such an automotive obsession as this film has, one must wonder if George Lucas was involved.

Overall, I have to praise this movie for its inventiveness and originality, even if it created most of our time-travel cliches. 4 out of 5 stars. Well worth your time.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


On a partial first viewing, I didn't like "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." I thought it was a slow, tedious story about a bunch of unpleasant jerk characters involved in a bog-standard conflict over money. It all seemed very macho and self-consciously cool, and it had obviously inspired all the overrated macho directors I don't like in my own generation - Tarantino, for example, and Robert Rodriguez. In short, I was unimpressed.

Years later, after hours of convinsing by my dad I gave the film a second shot, watching it all the way through this time. I loved it. What had changed?

For one thing, I took more notice of the technical side of the film. I paid attention to Leone's famous use of close-ups, his selection of memorable character actors, and his wonderful scene-setting. I admired the detailed sets and the sweeping landscapes, the props and the costumes and all those weird, wonderful faces that Leone clearly loved to photograph.

I also got hooked by some of the quieter moments that I had skipped over in my first viewing. One of the most effective scenes involves Eli Wallach's character, Tuco, quarreling with his brother when they meet after they've been apart for years. Their argument is great, emotionally charged stuff, made all the more effective by the suggestion that they really do love and care about each other. It's the kind of sensitive, human scene you never get to see in a Tarantino or Rodriguez movie.

Before I get too fuzzy-wuzzy, I should also like to point out that, on my second viewing, I LOVED all the action, too. Every gunfight is great, in its own way, and they're all a bit different. The greatest of them all is, of course, the final confrontation between the trio, which is accompanied by some of the most rousing music I've ever heard in a film. And hey, there's even a huge Civil War battle to provide a change of pace from all the small-scale action.

Ultimately, "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" is probably just a potboiler of a film, without too much to say about, for example, the human condition. But what a potboiler! It doesn't have to try to be cool - it simply IS cool. In fact, it probably defined heroic coolness for an entire generation. Eli Wallach's performance, Leone's direction and Morricone's music alone are enough to elevate it to classic status - and the fact that everything else in the movie is great, too, helps elevate it to the level of perhaps the greatest action film ever made.

And to think, I missed all that the first time through...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Blog award

So i have been nominated by TheRandomGuy for the Leibster award.
And  I'm very surprised and pleased. Thanks a lot bro, I appreciate it.
(Shameful copy pasting):

So pretty much, here are the rules to accept the award:
  • Link back to the person who gave you the award.
  • Pick 5 people deserving of the award and notify them on their blogs.
  • Post the award on your blog and spread the love.
 so now i have to pick 5 people who deserve the award:
  1.  Baur
  2. My2Pesos
  3.  Come at me bro
  4. Zyu
  5.  Shockgrubz
Gratz, you deserve it 

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Saving Private Ryan

 Tom Hanks

It gives a million reason why no one should go to war and one very powerful reason to go to war. It is a soul numbing realistic depiction of what our grandfathers, fathers, uncles, brothers and sons have faced in humanities darkest moments. Not just in WWII but in any war. No one can see this movies without being altered in some way. No one should miss it with the EXCEPTION of those war veterans that have already been there. The surround sound puts the audience in the middle of the battle.

Steven Spielberg has out done himself and effectively held up a mirror to civilization for events to which we should all be ashamed of, rather than appalled at the movie for its real life depictions. I suggest that this movie be made standard view for congress as well as the President each and every time the question of war comes up. This movie would not stop future wars but I would hope the objectives would be much more clearly defined. I say this as a US Marine.