bmrao1980

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Gone
(2012)

Where the journey is better than the destination
I saw this one against the critics' recommendation at Rottentomatoes, and it was because of Amanda Seyfred, to be honest. She has those beautiful big blue eyes and blonde hair that one cannot look away from.

But after watching her in this movie, it is clear to me that she is much more than a pretty face, and she can carry a movie on her own.

I can see why the critics would hate it, though. The plot is overly simple, the cops have a cursory role, and none of the characters other than that of Amanda's are well-developed. And, the big 'confrontation' is dealt with as if the director wanted it out of the way as soon as possible.

But, to be honest, in retrospect, the film is about none of that. This is a suspense thriller, not a horror. There does not have to be a big confrontation, and there does not have to be jump shots. This is about the journey of the protagonist against all odds, and how she uses her alertness and her resourcefulness and her charm to get to the person she believes has her sister.

In this, it succeeds. I would watch this one again, and if a movie makes me think that, it has succeeded for me.

Hanna
(2011)

An original gem in a field of franchises.
Simple yet effective. That is how I felt when I left the movie hall after watching Hanna. In this times where studios are increasing banking on probable franchises, this little gem is a refreshing original story that is also very well executed. The acting, the action, the casting, the Chemical Brothers score, the characters, their interaction, the story, and all the twists and turns it takes - all of it is very well and seamlessly done.

Ronan, who plays Hanna, is someone to look out for in the future.I will go so far as to say that she might be the next Angelina Jolie in terms of action scenes. She might even go beyond that because she is also a good enough actress, not just an action star. Cate Blanchett's performance as a villain was also refreshing, although her fluctuating accent did take away from her performance a bit. Also, all of her dialogs seem to be half-finished, whether she was talking on the phone or interrogating the family that Hanna befriended. Eric Bana's performance does feel a little wooden, but then he does not have much to do except 'unleash' Hanna onto Merissa.

The actions scenes were very well shot and did not look incredulous like the ones in Kick-Ass. I especially loved the long single-take shots that build up the tension so well.

Some of the details like the running scenes and the way Hanna's hair is never tied, depict that the director has his own unique sense of style and has used it quite effectively here. Also, the girl-girl kiss does not look gratuitous at all, but rather a good signifier of how grateful Hanna is to find a friend.

There are always going to plot-holes and unanswered questions in every movie but the pace, the acting and the action never lets those come in the way of enjoying the movie. In fact I think some of it was deliberate so as to let the individual's perception fill in the blanks.

All in all, although I might have used some exaggerated prose in here, the movie left me satisfied overall. We need more original gems like this one. I hope there is no Hanna-2 because it is perfect the way it is!

Source Code
(2011)

Probably won't start a franchise, but will be remembered.
This movie has everything that one loves and expects from a good enjoyable movie.In all the departments, whether it is acting, casting, story, editing, or visuals, this one delivers. I loved the concept of the movie, no matter how improbable it was. All through the movie I kept thinking how it was possible to make up an entire alternate universe from 8 minutes of memory synapses of a school teacher. Most of the time this would be a turn-off and will go against the movie, but it is handled in such a fashion that I was willing to suspend disbelief and incredulity and just enjoy the film. Because every time I questioned the movie, I also asked the question, "Ok, fine, but I ma willing to see what happens next." It is a rare thing for a film-maker to be able to do this, especially since this is not a hardcore action movie.

The ending could have been handled better, and was a bit disappointing because the protagonist, who wants to die in 'this' universe, does not instruct the lady Captain to take him off life support in the 'other' universe. but at the same time the message that he does send her is appropriate. Everyone needs to hear 'It is going to be okay.', especially when one is in the same situation as the protagonist.

Some of the people who watched the movie with me were of the opinion that JG's acting was a bit wooden, but to be honest, it fit in well with the mood and pacing of the movie. This is not a bang-slash movie. This is a thinker's movie, so to speak.

I put this movie in the same category as Constantine - movies that are slow, steady, gripping and stylistic. I loved Constantine & I love this one!

Mortal Kombat
(2011)

Shold have stayed with the rebirth concept.
I had decent, if not high, expectations from this series, given how Rebirth was conceptualized. Rebirth was the kind of take on Mortal Kombat that would have worked. If camp was all we needed, then the original MK movie was good enough. Unfortunately, we now have a series that relies on the same camp, as canon as it might be. The thing with MK is that as a game it is pretty straight forward, opponents enter the arena and kill each other. For game fans, the motive is not as important. But translate that into a movie and we need a proper story, a less campy and more gritty story. Rebirth did that. This series goes back to being campy.

Honestly, as the series progresses, I am losing interest. If a movie is ever to happen after this series that picks up after this series, it will be as campy, if not more, than the original MK movie.

In its defense though, I do feel that 10 minutes, including the end titles is a very short time to fully realize a concept. And, the Sub-Zero v/s Scorpion part was done well.

But still, some logic holes can't be dismissed. For example,

--Why did Raiden endure 90 days of the psych ward when all he had to do to get away was to get stabbed?

--Why did Kitana believe a man she was hunting (King Robert) when he tells him she is his daughter, especially when that is all she has to go with? I mean, she was raised by Shao Kahn all her life. Just one piece of dialogue to change her entire belief system?

The Ward
(2010)

Hasn't all this been done before...many times?
I saw this movie because I came across the reviews of some raving fan-boys calling this one a return to form for Carpenter. Frankly, that would not have been enough, but then it had Amber Heard and Lindsay Fonseca in it. So I went.

It started slow and steady and I thought that was a good thing because then the tension would gradually mount towards the end and that the filmmaker is taking his time to get to an awesome climax. But the pace never picked up. In fact, when the big reveal happened, I groaned along with many others present with me. **SPOILER** Multiple-personality disorder? That's it? Seriously? **SPOILER** There are a lot of things going against the movie. One, the acting is bland at best. Second, all the patients are too cute and too SANE to be in a special ward. It was like watching Sucker Punch with 60s clothing and no action. The premise of the movie was also too similar to Sucker Punch except, compared to this, SP did it better and had a lot of skin and action to boot, IMHO. Third, there was no sense of urgency or suspense. All characters had resigned themselves to their fate, so what is the point in fighting. **SPOILER** All except Heard's character, who is at a loss as to why she is being targeted by the ghost. We the audience are left wondering the same even after the movie ends. Why did Alice create the new personality in the first place? **SPOILER** Fourth, for movies with such kind of a reveal, the events leading up to it should feel realistic. Here it did not feel that way at all.

To sum up, the movie is Shutter Island, Identity (which used the multiple-personality disorder more effectively than this one) and Sucker Punch, all mixed together and then diluted to nothing but jump shots of Alice's ghost.

Hardly scary and hardly original.

Hung
(2009)

Goes nowhere with everything.
Maybe this is a non-biased review, because I have not read any other reviews or opinions before posting mine. Or maybe it is biased because I saw Hung right after I saw Californication. A bit clarification is in order here. The way I watch TV series is that I record the entire season and then view it as a marathon. One sees a lot of things one would otherwise miss when viewed like this.

Anyway, back to the review. I could not help but draw comparisons to Californication while viewing this. The first thing to observe is how lost this show is with what it wants to say. Is it about the adventures of a well-endowed guy who decides to use his natural asset to tide over a bad economy? Is it about the outcome of a bad economy itself and how it pushes people to do things they would normally never do? Is it about friendship and loyalty during bad times? The way I see it, it tries to cram all that and more (in terms of the lives of supporting characters' sub-plots) in a limited time and ends up doing justice to nothing. In contrast we have Californication that wickedly centers about the main character and revolves EVERYTHING around him. That kind of treatment to this show would work wonders because the idea of the show is solid. Hung holds back on everything, like it considers its audience to be pregnant and is afraid it might penetrate too deep. Nothing is explored in depth. Not the main character's relationship with his 2 pimps, not the relationship with his ex-wife, not his interactions with any of his customers, not his dynamic with his children, not the relationship of the twins with each other, or their mother or step-dad. Not even his work ethic is explored in depth.

To me this show is bittersweet because it oozes potential but trickles on actual delivery. I hope the creators mop up their act in the 3rd season.

Edit: Now, why am I not surprised that it got cancelled? Instead of focusing on the main character(s), this season, the show sought to make a supporting character out of Prof. Drecker, and almost succeeded in doing so. Instead of streamlining the plot, it brought in even more 'players', and instead of taking a direction with them, still huffed and puffed its way towards nothing. Damn shame, because it was such a great idea and Thomas Jane fit the part perfectly. Oh well, life goes on!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
(2009)

Worst of the lot. Took all the fizz out of the book and served colored sugar water
I don't understand! What happened to the people who brought us those excellent first four adaptations (I was disappointed with the fifth one too but not as much as this one)!? Did they get themselves a lobotomy or something!? Perhaps the most darkest and excellently put together books of the Harry Potter series, turns out as a movie that is essentially about teenage hormones and unexpected laughs! What happened to all the key plot points that bind together to give us the excellent ending of the seventh series? Where is all the drama, the urgency and the action of the book? Where is the epic showdown within Hogwarts that gets Bill injured? Where is Bill, for that matter!? All the major plot points that add up in the seventh book and result in such an awesome closure of the series are omitted! It is completely mind boggling that so much information can be omitted when adapting the book. I think the filmmakers got complacent and lazy, right from the fifth installment onwards, but watching the level they have stooped to for this one, I am really not that enthusiastic about the seventh and eight movies at all.

Heck, even what was included in the movie was so botched up! The best example is how Harry convinces Slughorn to divulge the secret memory about Tom Riddle. In the book, the interaction in Hagrid's cabin was so excellently done and the movie just totally made it a mechanical necessity. Same with how Harry convinces Slughorn to accept the position at Hogwarts. Same with the whole interaction between Harry and Ginny, as well as the final interaction between Harry, Ron and Hermoine. In the book, they promise to stand by him through thick and thin and in the movie we have Hermoine basically telling Harry that he needs them! I felt like smashing something when that scene was shown, to be honest! And, where on Earth was Dumbledore's funeral!? Instead of making such a crappy adaptation to such a beautiful book, I would rather they had left it out completely! All the main points are omitted anyway!

Sucker Punch
(2011)

Ended a bit too soon for me :(
When I was fresh out of the movie hall after watching this one (and it has only been a couple hours since then), I wanted to go right back in!

Watching this movie, I already guessed what the critics would be saying. Something along the lines of a genre mash-up served for drooling fan-boys, and all visual and no storyline, and average acting that depends a lot on the technical superiority, and on and on and on. But somehow, it doesn't matter! Yes, the story could have been a little better explained - like how an insane asylum suddenly becomes a 'gentlemen's club', and why is it that we never get to see the awesome dance that Babydoll performs in her trance-like state which seems to mesmerize everyone. But, as I said, it doesn't matter!

I had the misfortune of reading one critic's comments before posting this review where he opined that this movie will make sure that Zack Snyder never gets a free-rein to make what he wants ever again. I do not agree with it mostly because this movie proves that Zack can direct almost anything that appeals to the taste of modern young movie audiences. This is his canvas and he proved that he can make anything look good. He hasn't handled the touchy-feely emotional part of this movie very well, but for me, as I am sure for many, it hardly matters.

My only true gripe with the movie is that it ended too soon. The final few minutes felt rushed. I was hoping for more dream-sequences and more action during the final moments. But I also feel that the movie studio had some say in the theatrical cut and that a Director's cut would make things much much more fun.

I leave here being satisfied that this world will see a lot more awe-inspiring stuff from Zack for many years to come!

Faster
(2010)

Faster is not an apt title...but who cares!!?...Welcome back, Mr.Johnson!
This movie brings The Rock's career back on track. Even in his Disney movies, he has proved that he has a natural charm about him, and a screen presence that very few others have. All this while, watching his kiddie movies (only if i chanced upon them), i was waiting when he would decide to bring that charm and charisma to Action movies. Seeing this guy act, one knows for sure that action movies are his true calling. Well, all i can say is that my patience has been rewarded. Welcome back, Rock!

As for the movie itself, there is very little that can be faulted here. Of course, some snob critic looking for a Dark Knight in everything will surely find many faults, but from an entertainment perspective, there is very little that can be faulted. The only problem i had was the title of the movie. I don't know how they got to 'Faster', but seeing the movie's ending, the first thing that came to mind was 'Closure' because that is what all the key characters are looking for.

**SPOILERS START HERE** Driver's (Johnson) closure comes when he avenges his brother's killers. Cop's (Thornton) closure comes when he (thinks he has) killed Driver and ensured that there were no demons in the closet to hinder a retirement with full-benefits for him and his family. Killer's closure comes by knowing that Driver is not as smart as he is and that he has not got the whole plan figured, unlike himself; this provides him satisfaction that he is better than Driver. **SPOILERS END HERE**

All three key characters are just looking to move on and are ready to do anything necessary for getting that one last thing that needs to be done out of the way. The premise is well-acted, well-shot and well-executed. I, for one, can't wait for The Rock's next movie!

Dhobi Ghat
(2010)

Unrealistic at best - Propaganda at worst
I saw this movie because a friend told me it was made in true art-movie form that rivals western films of the same genre. In that point, i agree with him. But so far as everything else is concerned - the plot, the acting, the characters, the script, etc., it is a failure for me. This movie will no doubt fare well in the western market where Amir Khan is one of the better known Bollywood personalities, and also because it sells the warped image of cosmopolitan Mumbai that westerners have. As someone who is in touch with the real Mumbai, this movie felt unrealistic at best.

First, the characters were all one-dimensional, except that of Munna. Except Pratiek Babbar (who plays Munna), most other characters wore the same expression on their face throughout the movie; which is sad because Amir khan is one person who can really show range in his performances. Hence, when his character finds out that he is living in a house where a suicide has occurred, his reaction seems over-acted. Monica Dogra (who plays Shai) does not know how to act at all.

Second, the story is as impossible as can be, especially in Mumbai. A high-society girl does not mingle with a mere wash-boy the way Shai does with Munna. She would never go in places like Dhobi Ghat wearing what she was wearing. A lower class boy like Munna would never act the way he does around Shai. While there can be exceptions to the rule, the story as it unfolds here felt entirely false, and the ending felt incomplete.

The sad part is that the story had amazing potential - a look into those trades that are dying out in modern-day Mumbai. But this amazing storyline, that had potential for some real awe-inspiring and heart-breaking situations was covered up in a couple of minutes worth of snaps and interviews.

Third, the pace was a killer - not as in awesome, but as in "kill me now if it speeds things up!!". Add this to the fact that this movie is half the length of a normal Bollywood movie, that really says something about the pace! But let us not leave the good points out. The art-work, as in the paintings that Amir's character supposedly creates were good. The city is shot in a way that shows it at the grassroots level. Some of the shots of old Mumbai in the foreground and new Mumbai in the background is very well done.

All in all, this movie was made with the western audience in mind. The only reason it would sell in India is because of Amir khan and his track-record of awesome and heart-felt performances.

The Tourist
(2010)

Would have been better with Sam and Charlize...maybe
Well, lets not start on a bad note. I loved the visuals, the cinematography, the pace, the plot, and of course, Venice. Some of the performances like those of Paul Bettany and Timothy Dalton were pretty good. The rest of the supporting cast also did well. But, the two leads were a let down.

I usually love the films Depp does but in this one, i felt liked he gave a little too controlled of a performance. It felt like he was never sure throughout the movie how his character was going to react to a situation. And the rooftop walk was so much like Pirates of the Caribbean that it felt totally misplaced here.

I usually also love Angelina's movies. She is one actress who really knows how to do action scenes, and be the wild girl, very well. She has that feisty look which really helps her in her performances. But here she also was out of her character. She doesn't do the damsel in distress well, even when the character she is playing is acting like one. I guess the director wanted to create an air of suspense by leading us to believe that every time she was in a difficult situation we would get to see her kick-ass her way out of it...and i guess he has failed at that.

Another problem with the movie was the make-up department. In some scenes, one couldn't help being distracted by the make-up applied on one or both leads. Angelina looked way too skinny (not a surprise since she is virtually anorexic in Salt) and had too much eye make-up.

All in all, this is one movie where there is no question that the two leads were miscast. Makes me wonder how Sam and Charlize would have done, if the trivia are to be believed.

The Big Bang
(2010)

From the mind of a Meth-Addict??
Ever seen someone who is high on Meth? Or any other drug? Or Alcohol? Even Beer? At some point of time, when enough of it is pumping though one's system, one starts to rant. His imaginations start taking the shape of visions and they are so psychedelic! Watching this movie gave me the impression that the director decided to go on some sort of drug during the whole course of the movie.

There was enough to keep me hooked till the end but not enough to make it unforgettable or to qualify for repeat viewing. The ending did not impress.

The actors are good and the acting is also passable for the most part, but the editing is choppy at best. The makers might have a vision, but they didn't bother about the story. The whole rant about the various elements of astrophysics by almost all the key characters also did not help. It seemed inserted just to kill time and give the title a meaning. The so-called philosophy as well as metaphors fell flat. The dialog was ridiculous at best. And most of the key characters spoke with such thick accents or just plain weird that i gave up trying to understand them after a while. All this was a vague attempt to mask a very simplistic and predictable plot.

Overall, the movie gave me the impression of a very well made film school project from a guy on mind-altering drugs.

Devil
(2010)

Kept together right till the last few minutes
After the disaster that was The Last Airbender, this movie got a lot of bad press and lessened expectations because it was associated and marketed as a product of the mind of M.Night Shyamalan.

I guess it worked in its favor to an extent because the movie is surely much better than what it was expected to be. And, Night can rest assured that the producer and writer gigs are gonna keep on coming his way even if the director ones will not.

What i liked about the movie was that it did not rely on gore to tell the story even when the subject matter gave it ample opportunities to. The atmosphere was dreary and the lights-out moments were handled well. The movie was kept together right up until the final few minutes where it was revealed who the devil is. Then it suddenly got a whole lot more amateurish. That was when I thought Night himself could have done the ending better. Here, it just felt like the director said: "OK. Devil exposed. Bring on the clichés. Repenting - check. Self-sacrifice - check. Compassion - check. Devil backs off - check. Reference to God - check. OK, roll the credits." What i did like about the ending was that there was no divine intervention. The ending gave the message that the power to defeat evil lies within each one of us, if only we get past the lies we tell ourselves, get rid of our selfish ways and truly, sincerely apologize for our wrong-doings. In short, the power to defeat evil is within each one of us.

Well, no matter how amateurish the movie felt at certain points, one thing is for sure: we are seeing many more of the Night Chronicles in coming years.

Resident Evil: Afterlife
(2010)

Does little more than exploit the new 3D scene.
I can understand why the critics hate it. I can also understand why fans of the game would love it. But, i am at a loss as to what someone who isn't an avid gamer would make of this movie. For such a person (me), even if the person has followed the movie franchise to its fourth iteration, this movie was pointless in terms of taking the story forward.

It seems to me that all of the movie-maker's attention was on the 3D technology rather than anything resembling a plot, storyline, pace, acting, etc. Even the zombies took a backstage here.

What i liked about the first three movies was all absent here. Sure, we got to see the freeze-frame, slow-mo action bits, and they were no doubt awesome when seen in 3D. Like the freeze-frame when Alice has just lost her superhuman powers and her plane is about to crash. The detail was astounding and what a suspense it built - i almost broke into a sweat thinking how awesome it would be to see the remainder of the impact in full 3D slow-mo. But then i was presented a scene where the 'human' Alice walks out of such a horrendous plane crash.

Then there is the scene where a few survivors are holed up in a prison complex. And surrounding the prison, waving their arms through the fence are the zombies - just like the previous RE-Extinction movie.

And on the point of the zombies, what escapes me is why they were reduced to mere background noise! What bothers me is why they did not even act like zombies. First, they bore through the sewers in order to reach the humans inside. They also launch a stealth-attack on the people who go down to the armory to retrieve weapons. This shows active thinking, which they shouldn't be capable of doing. Second, they looked like the same make-up team from MJ's Thriller video was employed. Third, they ran and attacked like humans - this was quite obvious in the scene on the prison rooftop.

The biggest sin though was the way the Axeman character was handled. Why was he there? How did he get to be what he is (all the monsters introduced in the previous movies have had their origin explained)? Why did he decide to break down the prison gate? And why on earth was he so easily defeated? Now, in spite of all these and more flaws, if the pace was good enough (outside the freeze-frames and slow-mo) and the time-lines and dialog made sense, and the 'big reveal' handled better, then this would have been a much better movie. Unfortunately, it fails there too.

This movie ought to be taken as a lesson in the pitfalls of 3D. This is what happens when the movie-makers concentrate only on the technology they are using and ditch everything else.

Still, made me await even more 3D movies. They are surely the future.

The American
(2010)

More European than American
I had read enough of the online chatter around this movie to know that this is no Bourne or Bond kinda movie. So i went in not expecting action set pieces but rather an intense thriller. Well, you can say i kind of got that but more like one scene taken and expanded to a whole movie. This movie can be categorized as a character study rather than a thriller. We see the Clooney's character evolve from an emotionally hardened killer to a romantic who looks beyond life as a killer. Clooney is a superb actor and it shows here as he is sent to finish one last job before retirement in a small Italian town. The pace, the story, the liberal use of sex, and the treatment are all what one would see in a European movie rather than a Hollywood production. For those who love those kinda movies, this will be an absolute delight (as evidenced by many reviews here). Else, you might leave the movie hall feeling not-so-satisfied.

GoldenEye
(1995)

Certainly not an ageless classic
I am writing this review as soon as i finished watching it on a rental DVD. I did watch it, twice, when it was released in theaters, and remember just loving it to the max. Brosnan was a darn near perfect bond after Connery. And the technology, gadgets, and special effects were all brought up to date by Martin Campbell. But looking at it now, what came across as cool and awesome then comes across as goofy now. Brosnan is still awesome, but everyone around him, and the storyline, brings forth unintended chuckles. The whole pun on the Onatopp word, the admiral with a stupid smile on his face, Boris spiking the DOJ and the FBI, the character of Boris itself, all seem goofy and shallow when watched now. Brosnan is a savior no doubt, and the action scenes are also awesome, so it is not entirely a dud. Still watchable, but certainly not ageless.

The Proposition
(2005)

A little too Shakespearean for my taste of westerns
OK, honestly i was intrigued by the premise, and that this was a western, and one with Guy Pearce in it. My idea of a western is not necessarily a bloodbath or slurring cowboys but i surely did not expect the kind of Shakespearean fest that this one is. The cinematography is excellent, the sights are awesome and the sets look realistic, but the story progresses a little too slowly for my taste. Also, it could have been explained better, but he i guess it wasn't because that is the point of these artsy things. You have to look into the little details and make up your own mind and explain scenes with words such as 'ironic'. Like towards the end when, over dinner, Martha thanks the lord for what they are about to receive and the Burns gang busts in and tortures her husband.

What is worse is that the shootings and the 'knife-work' is mostly shown off-screen through sound effects. Well, at least it was too less for my taste. It had the capacity for some as evidenced in the scene where an aboriginal spears Guy's character and them has his head blown off. I wouldn't have mind all the singing and the other Shakespearean stuff in there if the movie was also true to the violence as it was to the singing.

The worst part, though, is that i could not really get any of the characters. All of them were under-defined and all of them seemed depressed. I mean not one character was happy when sober. Not one!

Gunless
(2010)

Thumbs up to this pleasant, funny, time-period comedy
It felt just so good to be watching this pleasant non-political, no-gore, light-hearted comedy. I for one would definitely pay to watch more of such movies. This really is the definition of good clean fun. I loved the story-idea, the various little sub-plots (especially Jack, the Blacksmith one), and the acting of all the characters was pretty competent. Sure, it had an amateurish feel to it from time to time, but that didn't take away from the fun of watching the movie. My only complaint are that the villain could have been a little more menacing and/or a little more funny - he ended up being neither. My only serious complaint is the hairdo the protagonist sports - that was a disaster!

Rogues Gallery
(2010)

Bland on all counts. At most enjoyable as a late night cable flick.
I am gonna explain what i wanna write with a metaphor.

If any of you has ever cooked from a cookbook before you will be sure to come across a recipe wherein you'll say to yourself 'that amount of salt can't be good' OR 'this much paprika...what do you wanna do? gimme an ulcer?!' OR 'that kinda butter is gonna give me a potbelly!'. So you adjust the ingredients, maybe even add a few of your own thinking you are gonna make the recipe your own, and then you find out the dish turned out bland and could have done without your own twists. It needed only those ingredients and in the quantity mentioned in the recipe to make it work.

I guess you get my point. When i came across the trailer it seemed to be a satirical action comedy with lots of gore to boot. And given the cast, it screamed awesome mindless fun.

But i guess the director decided that he needed to 'adjust the ingredients', maybe to make it his own style rather than a formulaic one. Well, sir, sometimes the formula is all that is needed. The action lacked the punch. There was blood and gore, yes, but the scene would cut to those 2 guys in 'corporate' making puking faces just when you though you are gonna see something really gross. The dialog, or rather the delivery, was sporadic at best - too rehearsed - almost like a B-movie. The action was badly choreographed and the camera angle shifted too many times for it to be smooth and coherent.

The premise of the movie couldn't be faulted though. Neither could the setting. Assassins having office-like cubicles and killing each other with office equipment is a cool idea. If only it could have been executed better.

I did not expect there to be a plot, and so the plot-twist at the end that tried to give some serious patriotic theme to the movie just felt 'bleh'. In fact, it did not make any sense at all.

Oh, if only the director had just stuck to the formula of max action, max gore and max comedy, then the premise and the actors themselves would have make this one a hit! Too bad!!

Choke
(2008)

Its like drinking a warm Coke from a punctured can without any fizz
What would have happened if David Fincher would have made Fight Club as a comedy involving insomnia? The product would have been something like Choke. The movie is bearable and there is not much skin exposure given the content of the movie (and its source material) but that is also the problem.

Its like the makers of this movie picked up all the feel-good moments and left everything else out. That defeats the purpose, IMHO, of adapting a Chuck Palahniuk novel. I bet anyone who has read the novel by Chuck P. will agree that the movie does not do any justice whatsoever to the very first chapter of the novel. I understand that it would have been difficult to capture it on film but even if it was hinted by the film that all the times that Ida was driving around young Victor, it was when she had escaped from the institution, it would have made the scenes more powerful. Ditto if they would have cast a kid who could carry more than one expression on his face!!

It is a dumbed down, powerless version of the source material and can only be classified as a missed opportunity. I mean, one can't be expected to chug on a warm fizzed-out Coke in the same way as a chilled freshly opened one! There is just a right way to treat certain stuff and in case of Choke...well, you get the point! I hope someone adapts Diary or Lullaby next, and does it in the same dark way Fight Club was done - the way Palahniuk's novels should be treated, IMHO.

Repo Men
(2010)

Why was this movie made?? What does it want to tell us??
Let me just say at the onset that i have pretty much agreed with every one of the reviews here that call this a pointless, plot-less, meaningless, message-less, torture porn of a movie.

But this one is so bad that in spite of agreeing with them all, i still had to write a review to calm myself.

As soon as you watch the movie, plot-holes start to emerge. First, there is no way on earth that the actions of these repo-men is kept under wraps given the methodology they use to repo the organs. When Liev's character was explaining a potential customer that he should not believe the 6 O' Clock news, i started laughing. Why? Because a few minutes before that Jude's character had repo-ed out a person's liver in front of his girlfriend. And then later there was Whittaker's character repo-ing an organ in the back of a taxi cab.

But i had still kept my mind open because if nothing else, the premise promised a lot of kick-ass action. What do we get instead? In the words of another reviewer: "The amount of blood and guts in this film was just revolting - excessive and pointless. The scene in which Jude and Drippy Girl proceed to cut each other open, whilst kissing and loving each other up, in order to stick various implements into gaping body cavities to reach the bar-codes on their artificial organs, was just torture porn, pure and simple." Usually there are the plot twists that can be called the saving grace even for a crappy plot-less movie. Not here! The first one wherein we find out that Whittaker's character rigged Jude's character's defib unit so that the would lose his heart and would need an implant was a laugh-out-loud moment. All that to prevent him from going into sales!? Ridiculous! The second one was when we find out that whatever happened after the first plot-twist was a dream. By that time the torture porn had drained all interest out of me to even acknowledge it with a colorful adjective. There are movies where it works, though, like Total Recall and the more recent Pandorum, but they work because everything leads up to it. They work because they serve as anti-climactic moments which gives an outlet to all the pent up adrenaline you have accumulated watching the movie so far.

This movie makes Surrogates look Oscar-worthy! At least Surrogates was trying to give us a message, no matter how halfhearted it was. The only message i got out of this one was, don't ever let the economy collapse. Else, this may be the future! OOOh, look, i am shaking in my boots!

2012
(2009)

The worst of all end-of-the-world movies so far!
The only bit of true acting is by Woody Harrelson. The rest of a very talented cast are just slaves to the green-screen and it shows.

The story progresses at a nice pace up until woody harrelson exits the movie (and the destruction begins), and after that it is nothing but one 'huh...wtf!?' event after another. The vague attempts at humor, personal tragedy and emotions, or a humanitarian message all fall flat.

And truth be told, the effects are not so good either, even if compared to Roland's own movies like independence day. And these movies are usually all about the effects! It is one thing to exaggerate and accelerate the progress of natural calamities to fit within the limited time of a movie and to keep the pace intact, but another thing altogether to insult the viewer's intelligence by random meaningless important-sounding dialogue and events just for the sake of it. And that's exactly what this movie does.

Knowing
(2009)

Wow!...but not in a good way!
The start is slow and steady, and gripping, and sets the mood for what i expected to be a gradual increase in the intensity of events, and the characters' reaction to it....and all i did was wait and wait and then the credits rolled. Wow! Watching this movie unfold (oh-so-slowly), and watching the plot(-holes) twist and turn, it just feels like a Film-Making 101 class was given a rare opportunity based on a promising premise...they were to make a disaster movie that incorporated science, religion, maths and paranormal activity, and they had to make sure there is no sequel possible (thankfully).

The beginning reminded me of the 'X-files', the end reminded me of M.Night Shymalan, and the music towards the end is taken from, and used to the same effect as, 'Irreversible'. The movie skips genres like they were lotus leafs in a pond, and in doing so leaves plot-holes the size of oceans. This one falls flat - road-kill flat. And i thought 'Next' was bad! I have always considered Nic Cage as a good actor but with the kinda roles he has been doing lately, he is wearing thin on me.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
(2009)

WTF was Bay thinking
2 Hasbro releases this summer (both of which i saw on DVD)...well, to sum up: i am glad i didn't shell out bucks to see this one on the big screen.

If ever there is an example to be had of wasteful use of technology, this movie is right up there with Battlefield Earth. WTF did i just waste 2.5 hours of my life on!!?

I saw this movie and saw alien robot farts, alien robot balls (as in the male body part, complete with jingling and jangling), illiterate alien robots, and thought (the cliché), Now i have seen everything!

There is no semblance of a story, the dialogues make no sense, the editing is choppy at best, the effects are inconsistent, there is no continuity, the plot holes are bigger and deeper than lunar craters, and the new additions to the robot characters either do nothing to add to the storyline or take away from it.

Seeing this movie, i think the franchise is going down the same path that the original Batman movie franchise (before Nolan revived it with Batman begins, and we all say thankya!) Shia's acting is the only saving grace of this movie, which should have been aptly titled "Ressurection of Optimus Prime" because that is what MOST of the movie is all about!!

The International
(2009)

Given the potential the storyline had, it felt incomplete
I honestly can't say i hated it. I liked it. But i certainly did not love it. The theme is that of an international bank that is involved in funding conflict all around the world in order to control the debt of the conflicted regions. This storyline has amazing potential, but i think the people involved did not make full use of the potential. I would consider such a storyline to be successful if i can relate to it...if i can see, like i did in 'Blood Diamond', the trail of a blood diamond from the hands of the slave miner to the underground vault of a reputed diamond house! This one did not give me that feeling. All that i got out of it was Calvini offering the above explanation for a very brief moment in the film. And the ending did not help either. Carrsen just gets shot in Istanbul by Calvini's assassin and Salinger, the protagonist, just looking dazed and stupid! That's it!!?

Naah, the banking storyline was a very unique one that had much more potential that wasn't exploited enough. The way the movie is done, we could have replaced the IBBC with any other institution, like a diamond house or a stock broker or even an IT company like Microsoft or Intel, and a one liner by Calvini's character would have given us an incomplete why!

Same for the character of Naomi Watts. If you bring such a talented actress on-board, either give her a short but key supporting role, else make her character more integral to the storyline. I was left with the feeling that neither was done here.

Same for the character of the assassin. It looked like all of is involvement in the movie was to lead to the shootout scene and then he dies!!

One good thing though, is that the movie leaves some ends untied. For the sake of the storyline only, i hope that a sequel gets made that exploits the unique storyline in more depth and detail.

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