priyantha-bandara

IMDb member since October 2010
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    IMDb Member
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Reviews

Sons of Anarchy
(2008)

One of the greatest shows on TV - The final review
After 7 years of blazing glory Sons of Anarchy has now come to a steady stop. This crime loving outlaw biker club drama is rarely one of the unique shows the TV history have ever seeing and unquestionably cannot be compared with another show due to it's own terms. While it is nearly impossible to go in to every detail of this brilliant show created by Kurt Sutter loosely based on the characters of Hamlet in a short review such as this, I'm trying my best to give credit to all the uniqueness it made us witness.

Being said that I have no doubt that this is the most violently dramatic TV show the world has seeing that actually made homage to outlaws, brotherhood, friends, big American motorbikes, people of all colors and races, guns, gangsters, prison mayhem, school shootings, eye popping like a pro with spoons, retribution without a regret, all kinds of love including transsexuals, burying up dead bodies and digging them up again, porno, baby snatchers from Ireland, body parts in boxes, crooked cops, random acts of violence, dragging handicapped people on streets tied to cars, mothers in laws killing daughter in laws, sons killing step fathers, kids injuring them selves to frame grandmothers and the list goes on. Though all this sounds so vicious and gory Sons of Anarchy is mind splittingly perfect in its script and performances that it was never felt neither irrelevant nor excessive. This obviously makes this show to shrink to a certain set of devoted viewers and becomes completely inappropriate for the masses. Which is the reason we didn't see internet braking hype for Sons of Anarchy in any year nor fans aggressively fought over it existence over a different show. But the Sons of Anarchy fans held up their end of the bargain and the creators gave their best to fans in return and it was wonderful.

Sons of Anarchy was brilliant in its story telling. While some may call some seasons silly and relatively uninteresting compared to a different season the flame never went out. Sons of Anarchy is not a show that evolves over the seasons in its drama. True it does up to a certain limit with it's characters as they evolve but each season was full of equal drama and tension that every time one season ended it was almost like some great movie came to a holt giving the promise of a sequel. For me I was hooked to Sons from day one to the finale episode and boy it was a joy. Seeing all those gritty mind blowing performances by the cast and how the whole plot elevated from episode to episode was truly a wonderful experience. And the thing with Sons of Anarchy was that it was full of energy and full of surprises and at one point I decided that I will not guess what's coming up but rather let the story take over me.

Sons of Anarchy has won many awards including the Golden Globe for best performance by an Actress in a Television Series (Katey Segal) which proves the quality of acting it was equipped with. The cast was brilliant and though most of them saw the other end of the barrel of a gun or the sharp side of a blade and went out in a split second (most in completely unexpected ways in unexpected moments) the body count didn't mean that they were forgotten. We saw amazing performances up to the last episode and some of them were the best the recent TV has to offer. If the fans were haunted by the faces of the actors and dropped a tear at their despair it was nothing to be amused of. And Sons of Anarchy will be largely memorable for it's choice of music. Episode after episode and at right times the sound tracks were mixed in a way that they were completely aligned with the mood and story of the show. When I look back at the set of beautiful music throughout these 7 years I have no doubt that Sons of Anarchy delivered it so powerfully in par with the shows emotional chemistry. For me I cannot think of Sons of Anarchy without its sound tracks and I'm sure for many it will be equally memorable.

All in all with fantastic writing and direction of Kurt Sutter as the creator of the show Sons of Anarchy was one hell of a ride. These characters and the ideology they represent will always be remembered though how cruel and violent they were just because of the fact that this show made them all looked so great. But the final message Kurt Sutter sends out so loud is that there is no crime that goes unpunished and no lie that will not be revealed for it's truth. And if you believe in it Sons of Anarchy is a modern day tale of Karma disguised in leather jackets. I will miss this show dearly and salute the creators for making such amazing TV time.

The Maze Runner
(2014)

Surpricingly good!
t is OK for me to admit that The Maze Runner delivered more than what I expected. After a brief glance over the plot I set my self to witness another Hunger Games movie but what I got was something more thrilling, gripping and a suspenseful experience. Being said that The Maze Runner is not a fresh approach to a plot or Sci Fi nature. And it is based on James Dashner's 2009 novel of the same name.

There has being many mind boggling cinema on certain mazes (or traps true or imagery) and escaping from it including Cube (1997), Inception (2010) and Pans Labyrinth (2006) to name a few and each delivered a very powerful cinema experience. Standing against great movies like what I have mentioned earlier The Maze Runner is still has a long way to go being this is the first of a sequel of movies we are about to see in the coming years. But talking of this one alone it had done a pretty decent job. ­­­ Thomas our 16-year-old hero wakes up in a strange place without having any memory of his earlier life. He and another group of people who experienced the same are trapped in a glade surrounded by a giant concrete maze. Though finding the way out of the maze and getting back home sounds a good idea the maze comes with many lethal surprises. But it seems like Thomas has some answers and soon the gang realizes that he is different.

For a dystopian sci fi thriller The Maze Runner has some gripping ground to start off with. And the movie steadily evolves within the first hour from nowhere to somewhere and the viewers get to feel the strange and mysterious presence of the maze. There is no scene that I can call as dragging or irrelevant thought they seems slow or not filled with enough action and suspense. But the movie quickly hit a phase of action and adventure and from there the game plan completely changes. What I really like about The Maze Runner is it's overall mood. As the viewer just like the people who are trapped in the maze are kept in dark so the same mysteries boggle in every ones minds. It's as if the viewers also has to find answers to the mysteries and we are left with no options but to try. And at times we are left to make tough choices.

Equipped with strong acting and brilliant CG The Maze Runner is a movie that will keep the viewer engaged every second. And when it finished it opens up a whole lot of new questions while answering only few of the burning ones that was laid out at the start. I guess we have to wait another year to find out what happens next.

Predestination
(2014)

One of the recent best in time travel
Reviewing this movie is really tricky. Because this movie is not the type that start from the start and end in the end (What am I even saying?). In fact Predestination has no start or an end but though at a glance it does not make any sense it makes a lot of sense once it's done. Predestination could be one of the best science fiction movies based on time travel and predestination paradox theory and it is truly mind boggling shocking piece. To be honest white it feels like Inception (2010) for a while it is standing inch shorter with Primer (2004). And nothing comes close to the feeling this leave you with once your struck by some completely unexpected ending.

There is no easy way to explain the plot of Predestination. But let me try. An agent who works for a top secret time travelling agency has the challenge to stop a serial bomber who made devastating damage back in 1970s. In one of his crucial visits to the 70s he meets a man who has a very shocking yet interesting story to tell. While this story makes no sense to one person it makes perfect sense to the other.

Obviously the time travelling related theories are pretty complex. And movie makers have come up with lot simpler versions themselves in the name of entertainment. Whatever it is most time travel based movies are quite interesting to watch but hard to explain as such. Predestination is one of those hard to explain type and it is OK to say that it's different to the usual bunch. Based on a short story "All You Zombies" back in 1958 the Spierig Brothers who directed Predestination has done a fascinating job at it. The sheer style of storytelling makes this movie somewhat unique for a sci fi and takes more of a dramatic approach for a good deal of time. Though more action could have being awesome I'm glad it doesn't go gun happy like Looper (2012) which again is one of the successful mind bending time travel based sci fi action flick. But the sheer amount of suspense and twists in Predestination make you forget any action for that matter and takes you in a more serious journey through time.

My only worry is the lengthy scenes that take place in a bar that at times feel unfit to be in a sci fi viewing it as a fan of sci fi. But taking the movie as a whole if you managed to get through that phase you will realize that it has a crucial part in making the whole plot up so steady though some of it can be reduced to shorted sizes. It seems like directors were keeping the best for later so patience maybe a good idea.

Finally keeping a note about performances and cinematography both are very well made. Ethan Hawk who plays the time travelling agent does a fine job at it but the real talent is with Sarah Snook who plays the other character. You will not be impressed of both performances instantly but once the show goes knee deep things will looks different. All in all Predestination is a must watch for Sci Fi fans and certain psychological thriller hungry fans.

The Purge: Anarchy
(2014)

Maybe I should be Purged for liking this!
For being a movie based on an utterly dismissible theory it's something to ponder upon how this is actually pulled off. To be honest thought how dumb it sounds I was hanging on to it and wanted to witness it till the end and even at the end it made some sense and it's crazy. Maybe I should be purged!! And I must say that I have not seeing the predecessor of The Purge Anarchy there for I have no way of comparing it with this one. But strangely bit familiar in the same lines of The Hunger Games, this one does a decent job being more realistic and close to home.

In not so distant future the US government has found a mechanism to keep its population and crime rate in control. The annual purge that last a 12 hour period let the civilians to let out their rage and cleans themselves. And in this period all crimes including murder is accepted by low. The story of a former low enforcement agent looking for revenge from previous years purge and few civilians who he happen to tag alone and their combined effort of surviving through the purge night is what The Purge Anarchy is all about.

Like I mentioned at the start the whole plot seems absurd. Yet the whole time we are left to believe it so strongly and confidently after sometime it will sink right in. And from that point the viewer will go through the horrific journey of survival along with the characters and corner to corner there is some new experience wait. And unexpectedly The Purge Anarchy does not cross its limits with being too gory or violent. It operates within a certain discipline and this makes the journey somewhat pleasant than road paved with flesh and blood. And the good twists that comes out of nowhere does a decent job and spicing things up.

While The Purge Anarchy is a horrific thriller from the surface it does have an underlying message that is well put together. A certain hope of humanity is emerging from the brutal actions of the rulers and the story manages to shine it to give some hope for the god forbidden future.

The Two Faces of January
(2014)

Cant' justify the flat ending
Though this movie has a promising plot and really good cinematography and twists built along, the uninteresting climax and the flat ending makes this a mediocre romantic thriller once over. However, due to the fact that it's interesting point to point the fans will expect bigger things to come and hang on till the end. But the problem is most of those big things does not happen and it kind of leave you with a disappointment than satisfaction.

When an Athens based American tour guide gets to know a travelling couple from his home country he didn't realize that they are fleeing from sins made back at home. To make things worse his interest towards the wife fuels his desire to help them in their needs and ultimately make him a part of a vicious crime.

The first half of the movie is quite interesting. The viewer is left to ponder often and the events gradually build with good confidence. The face of a thriller is quite well built and amidst of that signs of a romantic tale emerges. However when the movie passes half way it becomes little stagnant and the thrill take different directions. At one point it is hard to determine where the story goes with the romance as there is not enough prominence for it. And with some unexpected turn of events the romantic story is fully blown away and soon after it moves quickly to another zone. However all this is not entirely working against the taste of Two Faces of January, but it certainly ads some bitterness.

I don't think there is room for any actor to become exceptionally good here. All of them have a role to play but that role is limited in their scopes and nothing not seeing before. This movie will leave the viewer with certain emptiness. While some of it is due to the mood the movie express and majority of it is because it let down a classy ending.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
(2014)

Sci fi with a brain is finally here
Matt Reeves'es vision of science fiction is different to many. His movies take emotions in to count than the pure side of the movies scientific nature. This is well proved with his earlier movies like Cloverfield (2008) and Let Me In (2010). And now he teams up with the writers of Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and brings this much improved and very successful sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and it is magnificent. Right from the very beginning to the last scene this movie will take you through an emotional journey of man and ape alike and puts you in a tight spot as a human to determine the fate of things to come and decide write and wrong.

Ten years after the pandemic decease humans are at the brink of extinction. The apes who have survived lives in the woods formed up massive crowds and a form of civilized living. But when the humans bring war to the Apes door step and Apes leadership is questioned, the battle rages.

The very first thing that will blow the minds of the viewer is how insanely good looking this movie is. Thanks to the astounding works of the computer graphics and set creation the green rainy forest and the abandoned dying city both look absolutely realistic. And when the thought provoking plot is mixed up with ultra-realistic expressions of the apes this movie can sink right down in to you. And speaking of the plot it's carefully written to give the viewer a very good perception of things occurring and the flow is very good.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes as a story is completely far-fetched and it is amazing how it works this well. But if you're expecting more and more battles of large scale and less talk (or sigh language) then it might disappoint you a bit. But never forget that battles are never justifiable without the correct amount of emotions. And here the wait for the final battle is worth every bit of drama and once you realize that the world will never be the same again for Apes and Humans both there is slight hope left for both. And amazingly you might wish that apes will find their peace once again. Make your own judgment of who's to be blamed, us or our ancestors.

Boyhood
(2014)

Moving is not the correct word
If you ask me if I have seeing a movie like Boyhood before I would definitely answer yes. But if you ask me what does Boyhood has in common with all those other similar movies, I would say very little. Because Boyhood is a magnificent creation as life itself than being just another movie. Boyhood surpasses all movies in same genre and reaches a pinnacle of realism that as viewers we get astonishingly surprised of. It seems as if our own lives has being put on to a movie and some way or the other you feel that this movie is connected to you so deeply and you get so attached to it. The simple reason why it is so is because Boyhood is a project that spans 12 years in the making and us the viewers get to witness the same set of cast age a decade and it is nothing we have ever seeing before in a movie. We have seeing stories span across long time periods but non what so ever was this natural and emotional.

The lead of Boyhood is a 5 year old boy Mason (Ellar Coltrane) who lives with his mother and sister. His father who is separated come to visit occasionally and this routine visits and the phases of Masons' life as growing up to become a teenager with his mother in control of the household is the story of Boyhood. As a story Boyhood has no heavy surprises or shocking moments just like most dramas of this sort has. It's very simple yet gradually moving and clearly shows how Masons' perceptions and attitude towards life evolves as he grows up. Boyhood is nearly three hours long in duration but for me it is still too short. These three hours packs 13 years of a boys' life and it is so refreshing to witness how his life go through different phases and each of these phase has its own tragedies and beauties.

The other 3 main casts Patricia Arquette (Mom), Lorelei Linklater (Samantha the sister) and Ethan Hawk (Dad) simultaneously adds in to the changing time and their own struggle of survival within this 13 year spanning story which is also very well constructed. In that sense this movie can be easily centered upon any of these 3 characters as well and still will be very much appealing. But still the viewers can follow the story from several angles while engaging with the main story line of Mason and that I think is one of the many strengths of Boyhood over other coming of age movies. Yes, Boyhood is not aggressively centered upon a single storyline.

Boyhood is not cheesy or over dramatic or forces the viewer to get involved with it. But it somehow manages to keep the viewer engaged and when it's over you wish there were more. Life goes on.

Begin Again
(2013)

Musically divine
John Carney the director who bought us the beautiful musical "Once" back in 2006 has offered a true piece of romantic movie again that touches the senses. And it's filled with breathtakingly mesmerizing music one after the other and the charmingly graceful performances by Keira Knightley and Mark Rufalo. And when all of those combined with a lovely storyline that sinks right in to fans heart how can a movie like this ever go wrong. And by far this is one of the best musical filled comedy dramas I can recall.

When Dan (Mark) a talented yet beaten up by life music agent desperately looking for new talent to get his life a jump start, accidentally meets Gretta (Keira) a beautiful girl with a voice he was looking for. But convincing her to sign up to do an album was challenging enough for Dan as Gretta is about to leave town with a broken heart.

No doubt that pinnacle of Begin Again is its music. Five minutes down the movie it throws out a wonderful track that instantly grabs the viewer. And this moment becomes the central point of Dan meeting Gretta where it is visited couple of times via different story lines making its presence stronger. Starting from this song and the opening sequence the movie quickly yet steadily evolves in to something serenely beautiful and so does its music. The two key roles has their own independent story lines running alongside which fuels the main plot and the director has managed to beautifully blend everything together.

However Begin Again is bit far from reality though it covers its faults with a dramatic cloak and its charming performances and music. But to enjoy this movie the absolute reality factor is not something that's really required. And honestly compared with often seeing cheesy romantic dramas that pops up like mushrooms these days Begin Again is a modern wonder.

22 Jump Street
(2014)

Improved from the previous
I honestly don't think that this movie requires any introduction to any of you who are fans of Hollywood comedies. This is the second installment of one of the most successful and talked about comedy 21 Jump Street back in 2012. And this is clearly an improvement to the sequel and seldom have we got to witness a comedy that evolves for better. While the story is almost the same to the previous one just as the movie want it to be the clear new addition is the emotional bond that hilarious lead duo fantastically portray.

Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) is back with a new assignment to bust some emerging new drug by going undercover in college. But when Jenko accidentally joins the college football team and meets up new guys to hang out with Schmidt finds himself left out. To make things worse his new found college girlfriend's family becomes hostile.

22 Jump Street is filled with belly tickling humor. And they come in most strange place with most strange disguises and sometimes it takes a while to stop laughing. But for any who have seeing the previous movie this is no surprise and it's exactly what they would require. This time the movie goes a bit further and brings in some action comedy to fit the bill along with extended college comedy. Clearly the undercover investigation is bigger and the bad guys too that bring in a grand showdown at the end. Jonah and Tatum are just perfect in their roles and it's quite a surprise how such chemistry exist in between these completely opposite actors.

It is a must that I keep a note of the ending credits as this could be the most creative and clearly the toughest to make ending credits I can recall. It last for some time and will blow the fans away with makeup, CG and surprising guest starring.

Million Dollar Arm
(2014)

Enjoyable more than emotional
Sports movies come in all ages, speeds, throws and color. And most of them are very entertaining and satisfying and more than anything they are emotionally inspirational. Every year at least there is one sports movie that makes big news and I don't know if Million Dollar Arm is that movie so far. However this movie makes a real mark as it has a different mood and a flavor than any of the previously famous sports themed movies. The reality show and south Asian flavor combo is indeed something beautiful to see on the screen.

JB (Jon Hamm) is a sports contractor who is desperately looking for a talent to sign up as his company is reaching no fruitful businesses for some time. After failing in a raw he comes up with a brilliant idea of seeking for talent in far India. Pushed for unrealistic deadlines from his investors, JB launch his Million Dollar Arm reality show campaign in India seeking for the fastest pitcher for Baseball in a country which Baseball has no significant value.

The first quarter of the movie looks and feels familiar. A failed agent looking for a strong comeback is not the freshest of ideas out there. But as the story evolves it reaches untested territories and after sometime it reaches a solid peak that holds the movie on a steady state. There is a cool down period somewhere in the middle which builds the stage for the emotionally strong events to take place afterwards. Being a movie which is based on true events the director has put some good effort to keep the fans entertained throughout. I can't say I was bored at any stage of the movie though there are phases where it falls in to average.

Jon Hamm who is seldom seeing in movies but holds the title for one the most powerful TV characters of all time in Mad Men brings in energy to JB's character. The movie evolves around JB but the rest of the characters even how important and strong they are is not given enough attention as I feel. This is a bit of a letdown as some characters especially the Indian boys could have being more prominent if they were introduced from the start of the movie which could have bought in more dramatic approach to the whole plot. But Million Dollar Arm is a very entertaining movie which of course the entertainment side is stronger than the sports side at times. So I will not call this as the best sports movie I have seeing but it's a movies I enjoyed from the start to end.

The Expendables 3
(2014)

The worst of the sequel
It would be bold and OK to say that after two consecutively engaging and improving sequels, Expendables has screwed up bad this time. This movie looks like it's out of place and going nowhere and a huge potential of acting, bullets and explosives are flat out wasted.

The tattooed bad ass underground private soldier gang Expendables is back and they are facing a known enemy from the past. Barney (Stallone) decides to recruit young blood for the last battle saying adios to his old gang and it turns out to be a bad idea. Facing Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson) is trickier and tougher than it seems and Expendables patience and talents tested to the brim.

So why exactly this movie did went wrong? It is definitely not the cast and not the action because both of them have more than enough vibe to pull off some awesome movie. I think where it fails is the poor story line which has many connectivity issues and weak flow compared to the previous movies. It feels like some cast is not given a fair chance to perform and their presence is just a mere hallucination of the fact that Expendables is has many old school heroes in one place. This was common in pervious movies as well but the plot and direction was smooth enough for the fans to positively accept it. The only refreshing addition that worth witnessing is Mel Gibson where he brings in some true spark to the dull story line.

Talking of the good Expendables 3 is a high octane action jump start right from the beginning. The action is almost 90% far-fetched but we all know the drill here. So there is nothing I can complain about it. Action sequences, cast and set creations are good. The whole movie sees no lush greens or hope of a blue planet but takes place entirely in dull, harsh environments except for the night club and city scenes. There are enough destructions and explosions corner to corner and some really good witty one liners. And Arnold finally wants everyone to GET TO THE CHOPPAH!

Frontera
(2014)

Beautifully acted and wonderfully directed
Frontera brings a story that more or less equally affects both sides of the US-Mexican border. Loss, lies, betrayal and pain has no borders and it does not favor a single color or a race. When illegal immigrants have reasons of their own to justify their actions the other sides justifies their actions too. This is a conflict and I believe that the movie has done fair for both ends. But the important message that Frontera brings is that humanity is at question and who will take responsibility to correct its path.

The story evolve around two men one from Mexico who is illegally immigrating to America and the other who owns the land he trespasses through. When certain events take place where the Americans wife is collateral they both cross paths and lives change.

Ed Harris who play the key role (Roy) in the American side and Michael Pena who is the Mexican end (Miguel) both brings in strong balance to the performances. Along with the acting and the fine cinematography and the flow Frontera brings in a different experience to different borders.

Beautifully acted and wonderfully directed Frontera by all means is a fine thriller with a taste of a drama. It strongly speaks of two sides of a same story and brings in a powerful conclusion yet still not biased. The director seems to have worked hard on the details and the flow as from start to end the movie is well gripping.

Let's Be Cops
(2014)

Unpractical yet hilarious
This common above averagely funny comedy movie is definitely uncommon when it comes to the theme it has chosen. Two 30 year old men who has got nowhere with life accidentally realizes that impersonating as cops can gain them the recognition they so desperately required in their life. Though how crazy and fat fetched this idea sound the movie pulls off some crazy stunts keeping aside some obvious plot holes side. But as it is a comedy and all we want is to laugh no idea is a bad idea.

Let's be Cops is not boring. It starts a little slower than most comedy movies but gradually develop to be crazy funny sometimes. But most of the time it remains normal other than some occasional lines which can make you laugh a bit more than the rest. The reason why I kept going was because I was curious to know where the story will lead and how well the movie can pull off the predictable scenes. And I found them to be quite entertaining but not exceptional.

Regarding the performances they are OK but none of them can really spark the humor as such. Maybe I was expecting 21 Jump Street out of this but the chemistry between those two does not exist here. Maybe it's a weakness of the script too. But as a comedy for light minded viewing let's be Cops is not bad at all.

Cold in July
(2014)

Thriller with a mood
This is the second time I'm seeing a thriller which has control in this year. After Blue Ruin, 2014 throws this movie which comes with a strong theme and elements of surprises written all over it. Cold in July has perfect flow, good performances and power to keep the viewer gazing till the end. When a common man shoots and kills an intruder in his house the police quickly files for self-defense and close the case. But when the dead criminal's father seeks revenge things takes a different route all together. However the shooter and the criminals father discover some shocking truth about the whole trail of events that has taken place and realizes that the plot is deeper than what it seems.

What I like about Cold in July is its rapid evolving story line. The story moves from phase to phase fairly fast and with each step it brings in new bends to the story along with new characters. With each step the plot becomes stronger and makes the viewer guessing more for things to come. The surprising fact is that all these phases has a strength of its own and for the viewer its pretty much looks like its gonna be the ending phase. But the movie surprises the viewer yet again and moves another step towards a darker and unknown territory effectively.

I like Michael C. Halls performance quite much. We don't see him often in movies to be honest but made some real mark with his striking TV performances as the gay funeral director in Six Feet Under and the serial killer with a code in Dexter. Here he plays a normal family man character who is calm and not heroic eventually turns in to someone who is driven by right emotions to take heavy risks. This is where I see the similarity between Blue Ruin (2014) and Cold in July. Both these movies have normal people characters in them yet come out with powerful story all together.

The weakness I see in Cold in July is its far-fetched action sequences especially in places where the main character appears. The phase where he goes from nobody to a killer seems to be too fast. But this fact does not weaken the movie too much as the other elements holds the plot strong enough.

A Million Ways to Die in the West
(2014)

West was never this hilariously lethal
Hay the American West was bad and we know it. But I never knew it was this hilariously bad. This movie picks up some obvious facts from the 18's USA and sums it up to be a predictable yet a very funny comedy. With cocky dirty humor without limits and sarcasm written all over it the people who can digest this will certainly like it.

Albert (Seth MacFarlane) who is a cowardly sheep farmer and a man with a big broken heart after his girlfriend dumped him decides that it's finally time to leave the pathetic small town he was living in the West. But soon he is touched by the mysterious Anna (Charlize Theron) who happens to arrive in the town. But he is yet to realize that Anna is full of surprises and most of them will get him killed.

A Millions Ways to Die in the West is a very straight forward comedy and I take it to be positive. Comedies should be light weighted and should have little surprises. All the fans want is to have a good time watching it and get back to their not so hilarious lives in a jiffy. This movie does its job well though it may not be crowned as the best comedy ever produced. Scene after scene it throws in some really hilarious lines and some of them are so funny that you might lose the next few lines while laughing.

Acting wise there is plenty to laugh about and definitely Theron proves that she is a stunner even in vintage clothing and natural looking makeup. There are quite a few surprising appearances of guest casts who are well known who are capable of raising a brow. All in all this movie packs some real funny goodies and some of them might taste like horse s... But it's okay!!

Edge of Tomorrow
(2014)

Rocks the foundations of sci fi that came out lately
Tom Cruise movies sell. I mean they really sell. But when the movie is equally good as Tom himself and it can pull some really mind blowing stunts without making the viewers to worry about the huge plot holes it is definitely a blockbuster. Edge of Tomorrow is a fresh look at the age old sci fi genre that based on alien invasions and courage's humans who defeat them. And it's the modern day Independence Day movie and it seriously rocks the foundations of sci fi that came out lately. Huge production, staggering CG and awesome acting makes Edge of Tomorrow one of the best action sci fi's lately. I wish I can say the same about the plot but though it is amazing at a glance there are plenty of places it fails. But it doesn't matter when you start to watch because it's so entertaining that some of your senses get instantly freeze.

In not so distant future the world is invaded by an alien race known as Mimics. The world is at war and seems like the humans are capable of defeating them. Major Cage (Tom Cruise) who is a publicity agent for the ARMY than a real soldier is sent to the front line of the crucial battle against Mimics without his will. Cage finds himself terrified and helpless when the battle becomes bloodier and a massacre of humans than expected. But coincidentally he discovers a way to manipulate time and relive the same battle and perfect it to realize that the aliens can be defeated using a different strategy. Rita (Emily Blunt) a fellow soldier joins him for the ride.

The plot here is very creative. When the real time travel or time loop hits the center stage the whole phase and the feel of the movie quickly changes. This is where it gets the true edge against other similar alien invasion movies and the tight grip remains till the very end. While some viewers can be utterly confused by the fact of this time loop and the repeating scenes I'm sure no one would lose interest of the movie because of it. The element of surprise is very good and movie throws in some real candy for the viewers without delays. The flow and the phase is indeed appealing and the peaks and off peaks are well balanced. However as mentioned earlier the plot has many weak points and as a sci fi that makes sense Edge of Tomorrow is far behind.

Tom has a history of alien invasion movies such as War of the Worlds (2005) and one of my personal favorite Oblivion (2013). Edge of Tomorrow is another jewel for his collection proving that he is still hot as he used to be decades back. Emily Blunt is sharp and very well fit for her role. The duo does a perfect job on the set and they spark while the aliens bleed.

What makes Edge of Tomorrow is so good is its action and animation. They hit you very unexpectedly and some scenes are so majestic and detailed that you might feel that one viewing is not good enough. Starting from the production to the finishing touch of sound this movie is a true action flick and no one can say otherwise.

Coldwater
(2013)

Painful yet effective
Just as the name goes Coldwater is a stone cold story about abuse and survival. But it's a different kind than we often see on the movies. The story moves out of the abusive culture which exists in the common society and explores a certain layer of systematic abuse which exists in a more controlled environment which is governed by the authorities in the name of rehabilitation.

Brad (P.J. Boudousqué) is sent to a juvenile reform facility by his parents following his history of troubles with the law. Soon after he arrives at the location he realizes that this place is much worse than the detention centers he has served time earlier. While the techniques and routine takes a toll on the detainees Brad struggles to get out of the place. After a failed attempt and severe punishment his goals change to fight against the system than freeing himself.

Coldwater is a slow moving yet applying drama. It is quite horrific and painful to get through as well. But the violence is done up to a certain point where it delivers the message and nothing else. The drama and the characters and their struggle overcome the violence element and due to this Coldwater become one of the few movies which positively get away with it. There is a good flow and mostly the story bounce between two timelines of Brad's life. While the movie creates a good interest of things to come it delivers certain element of surprises as well. However, for some reason I wish that the ending was different and we could witness a Brad who stood up for his beliefs than becoming a victim of it.

Though for some viewers Coldwater could be a painful memory, as a movie it is different and effective. There is good acting from many less known talents and decent cinematography to get by.

Appurushîdo
(2004)

Blew me away to the future
This certain type of a futuristic sci fi animation is mostly scene from Japanese animation studios and most of them are literally mind blowing. They carry purely creative futuristic settings, technology, action and eye popping details to start with. Though most of the serious sci fi fans will despite the plots in most of them still they are the kind of movies that will keep you engaged for a long time if you are a fan. Appleseed (2004) is one of such wonderful animation movies from Japan and first one of its trilogy. And it's based on the comic book by the creator of Ghost in the Shell (1995).

Appleseed follows the earth after the 3rd world war which has almost wiped out the entire economic and social system as we know now. And the world is completely in ruins and several groups keep on fighting for their territories. The war is taken over by high tech machinery and only the bravest fighter's fights in flesh in the front. And in a distant place a Utopian society exists in harmony with humans and human like half machines knows as bioroids. Worrier Deunan is bought in to this peaceful society from the action packed front line to realize that her known to have disappeared boy friend Briareos also lives there and he is also a different kind of half machine half human right now. Deunan starts to wonder what purpose she can serve in this society when she soon realizes that the battle for mankind is far from over.

Appleseed has simply jaw dropping quality animation. It will be the first thing that would grab the viewer from the throat and then the action kicks in. The animation is a mix of 3d and 2d graphics which gives a certain blended beauty. Though this type of action and animation is witnessed earlier Appleseed does it really well. The viewer gets to engulf in a deep and thoughtful plot which reveals with solid explanations to the technology and rational of its existence. If you're watching a subtitled version this section can be a bit tiresome. (I have seeing both subtitled and English dubbed so I know this for a fact). Though the plot is not perfect it is quite good for a war based action sci fi and it's entertaining enough.

With limited character development and superficial plot Appleseed has the potential to fail. Yet I feel like it had done a good job in most legs though it is not perfect. As I have now seeing the trilogy in full I certainly admire it more. This is a good start.

Locke
(2013)

Sometimes one actor is more than enough!
Though every director takes a challenge when they decide to do their movie project even how big or small it is, some scripts vastly differ from the majority and they pose a stronger challenge of some sort. This is a fact for most movies that are script driven and even tougher when it comes to movies that has only one actor in them. In recent past Buried (2010) and All is Lost (2013) were fine examples of such films. And 2013 brings another fine completely script driven movie from UK which is Locke. It sure is a very different movie and maybe even if you kept the whole movie thing apart and listened to it over radio there is a fair chance that you will still get the whole thing right and enjoy it. The reason why I say so is because the only probable cause this script makes a movie because there is acting and cinematography. But it will be equally promising as a sound act only.

Tom Hardy who is the one and only actor in this movie plays the character of Ivan Locke who is a construction engineer. In the brink of a historical construction event he decides to ditch it and go somewhere else to fix a mistake he have made. When he gets in to his car and starts driving he realize that there will be many challenges he have to complete to save the day and none of them will be easy as they sound.

Tom does a brilliant performance here no doubt. As he is the only living thing the viewers will see he has to be compelling to keep the show going. Ivan's character is strong, intelligent, brave and calm. All these characteristics are portrayed while Ivan is seated in one place and only by talking to other people over the phone. It is too hard for me to explain how this is even possible in a movie but imagine how it could have being for Tom Hardy and Steven Knight (director/screenwriter) to make it happen. But the wonderful thing is as a movie it truly works and the viewer is anchored in one place giving only hints to imagine the things that must be going on in another place. It's kind of unfair too for us as viewers as we always expect to see what's going on but Locke doesn't give us that luxury. But it truly makes the viewer to become this character and synch in to his situation like no other movie does.

Locke is a beautiful drama that tells a strong story about accepting responsibility in the most daring of times and parenthood. And it does is staying in one place using one actor. How fascinatingly fantastic!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
(2014)

An unexpectedly good super hero movie
By the time I sat down to watch this I have already heard quite a lot from the comic fans that this is beyond what they actually hoped to see. Captain America being sort of a side roll in the Avengers and the first movie being somewhat less attractive than many other Marvel flicks I had mixed feelings. But Captain America: The Winter Soldier bitch slapped me and caught me at the first punch. And it's simply overwhelming to witness that this has being one of the best super hero movies up to date and for over two long hours it's just intense and gripping as its first 10 minutes. And Chris Evans just climbed my favorite super hero ladder a few notches with a Ka-Boooom.

I don't want to waste my words explain the plot a lot. It does what super hero movies supposed to do and it's heroic, adventures etc with lots and lots of plot holes. But hay no one expect top notch script from a superhero movie so it doesn't matter. But what it really matters is that Captain America: The Winter Soldier pulls off all the unimaginable and far-fetched stunts so easily and the viewers are kept on the edge of their seats and it gives no time to relax. The sheer amount of mind blowing action that appears within short intervals are just awesome. And the interesting thing is one after the other they become stronger and better and has its unique twists to make them differentiate from the previous.

What make Captain America: The Winter Soldier so good is that it's brilliant flow. There is no second wasted and no punches thrown in vain. And there is awesome sense of tense and unrest steadily built without putting too much pressure or indigestible acceleration of events. And visually the movie delivers a feast with super good CG combined with live action.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an unexpectedly good super hero movie. And it's being a while since we have witnessed one. And it can be simply enjoyed even if anyone does not have a thorough knowledge about the previous movie or the Avengers at all. So it's a very good standalone entertainer. Though I have no high hopes for a better Captain America in the next movie as Hollywood has this certain trend of bigger action and poor movie as the franchisees grow I have truly enjoyed this one.

Donnie Brasco
(1997)

Goes beyond being a movie about loyal gangsters and murderers
Though there are ample amount of movies based on Mobsters and the Mafia led organized crime only very few that actually is mention worthy. As we all know while Godfather remains as the undisputed godfather of modern mob movies, the list gladly follows by movies like Goodfellas (1990), Scarface (1983), Heat (1995) and The Departed (2006). And Donnie Brasco is another fine jewel that so powerful and intense in revealing the underworld life of mobsters and their painfully loyal and ruthless culture. And it's based on the true character Donnie Brasco (Joseph Pistone in real) who was an undercover FBI agent who spent 6 long years with the mob (1975 -81) that ultimately came very closely to losing his natural life in the name of duty.

FBI agent Pistone (Johnny Depp) goes undercover as Donnie Brasco making connections with the aging hit man Benjamin 'Lefty' Ruggiero (Al Pacino). After building trust with Lefty he manages to move in to big leagues and participate in mob activities and gather valuable information. But at the same time due to the work pressure and the overwhelming amount of crime he witness his perception towards certain things goes through a dramatic change. While Pistones wife and kids misses their man of the house he deeply engulfs in the mob and struggles to strike a balance.

One strong reason why Donnie Brasco sinks right in to the hearts of the viewers is that it has the right flavor and mix of crime and emotional drama. While it is entirely the solely expected mob crime movie it has a much unexpected value of feelings. Especially towards the end of the movie viewers get a heavy load of it and it fuels reaching a solid ending. The positive chemistry between the main leads Depp and Pacino is another winner. Both of them have big movies and scores under their belts and the director uses them to cleverly influence the viewers. While Pacino is a household name for mob movies I recall Depp appears seldom in them and another strong one being Public Enemies back in 2009. In this role Depp depicts an emotionless face but underneath he finely portrays the ambition and at the same time the fear which he hides inside.

The majority of the movie runs on crime but does not show crime as such. However there is one scene which is brutal and overly gruesome for even the hardest of crime movie fans. But through that scene the director gives a clear message to the viewer about the filthy reality of the mob and what Donnie has to deal while performing his duty. And no crime and mob movie is completed without a gang murder. But Donnie Brasco goes beyond being a movie about loyal gangsters and murderers.

Blue Ruin
(2013)

One of the best movie about revenge of our time
Blue Ruin runs on one of the most tested and classic movie plots in the history of mankind, revenge. But it is quite amazing to realize that this straightforward story of a man taking revenge from a bunch of people who have made wrong to his family in the past can be this well done. Everything goes by the book and there is no mind breaking twists or puzzles to be sorted at all. But still as a viewer I was struck and glued to the screen wondering what will happen next. Yet at times it was very predictable most of the time it took me by surprise.

Dwight (Macon Blair) seems to be a loner who's living in an almost junk of a car and eating out of dumpsters. But his life makes a sudden turn when he realizes that the murderer who was responsible of making his life a nightmare will be a free man soon. Dwight decides that it's time to go home and take care of business himself.

Macon Blair does a wonderful job portraying this amateur assassin. Through his eyes the viewer can feel his anger and the fear both at the same time. He is nothing closer to a criminal by looks and he has no skills of combat other than ambition and that ambition drives his adrenaline to deal with some very lethal situations. He gets beaten up pretty badly, gets physically injured and emotionally stressed yet maintain his balance and wits going against a family of criminals. This character is an everyday Joe who has nothing to lose but has everything to save.

Director Jeremy Saulnier keeps a very good flow the whole time. The movies brilliant cinematography creates a mood that builds the plot strongly surrounding the key character. There are very few words spoken and lot of acting that matters. Until things starts to become clear very slowly half way through the movie the whole plot remains a big mystery with only few hints to hang on to. But having such a simple plot to start with the directory has made a brilliant piece of cinema that viewers would talk about for years to come.

This is by far the best thriller of same sort I have seeing after the Swedish Headhunters (2011). And it's not a movie to be missed thought it has quite a bit of excessive gore.

Transcendence
(2014)

A movie about intelligence without intelligence
The irony about Transcendence is that it's all about artificial intelligence but it lacks even the most natural of intelligence completely. Though it starts with a big promise of strong things to come it falls weak and on its knees so fast that once it's done you realize that Depp has taken you on a joy ride. I cannot exactly say if it's an entire waste of 120 minutes of your life but it sure does not add any more value to it. Transcendence looks like the big budget disaster of 2014 so far which the crown held by After Earth last year. For some it's would be OK to argue that the movie was too complicated and it's only for the thinkers but in my point of view thinking too much about this would only makes you feel sorry for doing it.

When Will Caster (Johnny Depp) who is a renowned scientist in artificial intelligence dies his wife uploads his consciousness to a program expecting that his great knowledge can be harvested for future. As expected Wills consciousness perform brilliantly but evolves in to a greater power and a threat than being an asset. And when he breaks the barriers of nano technology he starts to play god.

The plot clearly has lot of potential. But it's not something groundbreaking or never heard of before. Therefore Transcendence is already decades late but tries hard to be futuristic. But still it could have being save it if didn't have some obvious mistakes. There are so many plot holes that make it completely unjustifiable and qualify to be an effective science fiction or a drama. If wish to continue to the end you have to completely withdraw yourself from them and go along. But it's something not very easy to do. I don't want to give out any spoilers but keeping the AI part and the nano part aside as they are fictional the stuff that actually happens right now are depicted in a complete bogus manner here. How the story flows and the events taken place is far from its narrative and you can't really forgive it.

Seems like the cast is a way to salvage it but to be honest nor Depp or Morgan has a strong part to perform so their appearance is a waste. The fans of both will only end up disappointed. And there are some poor looking action scenes that pop up time to time and even that make little sense. The CG is not brilliant and cinematography is mundane. But the hope of the big cast and the plot I somehow went through the whole movie.

Need for Speed
(2014)

Most probably only gamers will love this
As there is a common belief that soccer is the universal sport of planet earth if you ask a gamer what is the universal game they would most probably say Need for Speed or NFS. It's nearly impossible to find serious gamer who have not played even a single edition of NFS. And for the love of the game the long awaited Need for Speed movie is here and from a gamers perspective it's everything they can ask for. But from a movie fans perspective there are critical downsides to it. So before you watch this think to which category you belong to. I as a person who played NFS from the very beginning when the game was supported on DOS and had nothing much to offer than pixelated moving objects have no reason to dislike the movie. The plot is very straight forward. When street racer Tobi Marshall (Aaron Paul) is betrayed and sent to prison he has no other ambition than proving himself right. Once released he find a fast ride and get in to the legendary undercover street race to beat his rival.

For anyone who liked Need for Speed there are definitely two reasons, the nearly fantasy collection of super cars and the long races. That's right. Need for Speed has some cars that blow your speed brains out. For motor heads its porn and the movie follow its games lead and pump in some really expensive rides. The awesome collection includes 2013 Shelby GT500, Saleen S7, Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, McLaren P1, GTA Spano, Bugatti Veyron Super Sport and Koenigsegg Agera. I'm quite certain that it's the most expensive car line up in a movie so far 'if' they were the real deal. But then again for movies like this with so many of them get crashed at the end the real cars with real specs are out of limits. Apart from the cars the races are quite well done. However as the bar is already set up very high by the all-time king of street race movies Fast and Furious, Need for Speed is lacking some innovation there. But still the races are very entertaining and full of destruction.

Why Need for Speed fails to make a mark as a movie is for obvious reasons. To start with the plot is very lose and utterly impractical. You can say the same about Fast and Furious too but F&F had some charm in the cast (Heavily with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker) that made the fans forgive the movies crappy plot holes. But NFS is lacking that charm and it doesn't look good. Aaron Paul is a good actor made his way up the ladder with the awesome TV show Breaking Bad but it seems like this role is not something that completely fits him. He is a character actor than an action star and maybe the fans expect more of him than some cheesy lines and pretending to drive inside a car in a studio. So the cast and plot both are not working in favor of the movie and that's a big letdown.

It's still too early to predict if Need for Speed will become a big and a good movie franchise in the future if they make a sequel. But at the moment it drags behind few spots on the top street car race movies of all time.

Under the Skin
(2013)

Looks can be deceiving, Mind blowing cinema
Under the Skin is a science fiction directed by English born director Jonathan Glazer which is loosely based on the novel of same name by Michel Faber. I on a personal note would like to call it a Sci Fi horror as its pretty intense in its horror element before it turn sci fi on a later stage of the movie. Whichever the way you put it Under the Skin is a different and a brilliant piece. It's a mind boggling plot that makes the viewer jump their seats more than few times and a continuous guessing game till the very end. Even at the end there is plenty of questioned unanswered (at a glance) but once pondered through the whole sequence again or after a re watch things can become much clearer. And still the beauty of this movie is vast and unpredictable.

There are no names for the characters here. They simply exist and interact with each other. Come to think of it the success of the plot largely depends on this anonymity as viewers we are incapable of making any links what so ever. The lead role is a woman (Scarlett Johansson) who seems to be luring men to some dark abyss using her beauty and sexuality. There are many men who falls to her pray but what they perceive and what their actual fate is a mind confusing sequence. And then there is a biker who appears time to time and seems to be some kind of a cleaner. How his job connects with the woman is a secret on surface. In a surprising turn of events the woman decides to go out of her routine and finds out that the actual human connections are far more complex.

The movie made quite the hype before its release due to the reason that Scarlett appears in it and she is naked in some scenes. It's obvious that her appearance makes the movie interesting and she is the only actor in the movie that we can call 'familiar'. The rest of the actors are from Scotland and most of their roles are not significant. Choosing Scarlet could have being a smart move to gain popularity but I wish the role was done by someone else. If so the viewers could have witness a totally 'new' reality and forced to engulf in a completely unknown and unbiased perception. What Scarlet does the majority of the time is driving and walking other than in the short frames where she appears naked. And the other interesting fact is that other than Scarlet everyone else are not really actors. They were picked up by the director to perform their roles randomly. And the movie consists heavily with candid footage.

The mood and cinematography of Under the Skin is brilliant as well. It's is a key reason why the viewer get instantly sucked in to the eerie plot. The cold Scottish landscapes combined with the urban and suburban locations pumps in some sort of mysteriousness right from the start. And it seems like those wide angle scenes speaks largely as much as the close up scenes. And this has no quality dialogues at all. There are dialogues that support the plot but there is nothing direct. Therefore everything goes on is clearly and certainly depicted via cinema and not verbally.

Under the Skin is an excellent piece of cinema in sci fi genre. And at the same time it's a deep psychological experience.

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