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National Treasure (2004) review

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 8 April 2012 11:33 (A review of National Treasure (2004))

Since this came from Walt Disney Studios, expect a-lot of talking and virtually no body-counts. Nic Cage as the lead was a good choice and he tackled his character in a good way but, honestly speaking, he has done better roles but character-wise, this is one of his memorable. This is not a complaint or an insult but rather a comparison, that's all: Was it me or whenever Cage talked it reminded me of the "droning" riff from In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida?

Anyway, from the supporting Diane Kruger wasn't bad at all and was very convincing in her character and not just only an eye-candy extra. Justin Bartha plays one of my most favourite sidekicks Riley Poole and he did a decent job. Sean Bean as the main antagonist, Ian Howe, did a great job. In my opinion, one of the best memorable villain of quite-recent times. Probably the best performance in the film belonged to Sean Bean and he was a show-stealer from start to finish.

National Treasure won't be making into my greatest films list any-time soon but it surely is one of the best. Even the sequel wasn't bad either and I can't wait for the third film. I know I'm in the minority here but the National Treasure series is funny, fast-paced and quite-informative, just like any Dan Brown novel... come to think of it, it does feel like one!


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Iron Man review

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 8 April 2012 11:13 (A review of Iron Man)

You know the film is going to be entertaining if it has Robert Downey, Jr. in it. Hell, you know the film is gonna be amazing if it opens with an AC/DC song. That's right, in this case it's Back in Black. Anyway, Robert Downey, Jr. is by all means the coolest actor to play a superhero. He is not weepy as Peter Parker nor reclusive as Bruce Wayne. He loves what he does and he enjoys every minute of it.

OK, this may take some time but I wanna talk about it. I've never read any of the comics or anything featuring the titular character and I don't know what the original deal is with The Ten Rings in the comics but I didn't like the way they were represented. They're not only represented as terrorists but also Urdu speaking ones and by that I can only come to the conclusion that they're Muslims and this is another anti-Muslim message right here. Tony Stark, an American inventor, has a change of heart when he witnesses his people being killed and stops making weapons. This goes on show that people not only need brutal examples but a heavy dose of their own medicines in order to change their tone and in the end the ones who retaliated back are always thrown in the dirt while the ones who originally came up with these destructive ideas are considered "brilliant", in this case the Muslims and the Americans. Sorry to say this but anyone who thinks up ideas on how to kill their enemies effectively and brutally are not brilliant in any way. They are sadistic and downright corrupted. Why can't they use their "brilliant" minds to bring peace? This also goes on show that not everyone is perfect and America should stop considering themselves as one, thank you!

Anyway, I don't like having my personal views get in the way and I watch all films with an open mind, if I can and, right, now on-to the film: Iron Man could just about be the most coolest superhero film ever (OK, second to Dark Knight) and almost everyone did a great job. It's fast, it's funny and the CGI is very smooth. Also, it's literally devoid of any sort of actual romance, the one thing that fuels superhero movies and I think it was a wise step. Robert's portrayal of Tony Stark kinda reminded me of Nicholson's Joker. Both took an unmistakable relish in their roles and were very well suited and their little dialogues and remarks only made their characters much interesting.

All in all, this is a great superhero film with plenty to offer and will keep you entertained especially in the first hour. A sleek film indeed!


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The Fly (1986) review

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 7 April 2012 06:47 (A review of The Fly (1986))

To start off with, The Fly is 4-in-1; Horror, sci-fi, tragic-romance and a film with a message. Let's start with the first shall we?

Horror: To the modern audience he is known for crime-thrillers but to fans he is best known for the 80's body-horrors which had originally propelled him to stardom. The Fly is his best effort to date. Chris Walas's ground-breaking imagining of what would happen should a fly get fusioned with a man is classic. I mean, this is body-horror to the max and the ending 10 minutes are one of the sickest moments I've ever seen.

Sci-fi: The 80's was cluttered with sci-fi movies and this one was just another dust particle. But, unlike most others, this one was more effective and, simply put, better detailed (one of director Cronenberg's best things)

Tragic-romance: Veronica has a history with Stathis, the most unlikable character you'll ever see and has now fallen in love with Seth Brundle, the main guy. But the latter is turning into a giant fly and he wants to start a family with her and even though she refuses his advances, still cannot let go of him fully and the ending scene is the most saddest out of all.

A message: The film has now widely accepted as a metaphor for the AIDS Epidemic. It also explores on the fears of growing old and dying. The one thing that we cannot stop but most of us fear. I also saw it as quite symbolic (check out the shape Veronica's stocking resembles when it gets teleported... should be around 8:23 minutes into the film depending on your version)...

All in all, not only is this the greatest film by Cronenberg but also Jeff Goldblum's greatest performance to date yet. It was an excellent performance and him not being nominated is another example of the Academy's ignorance. I mean, very few adults have handled such a nerdy character and this is one of them. The supporting were fine too but this one stole the show. every. damn. second. The Fly is also notorious for making me a-sort of a insect-fearing person. I mean, I've never *this* jumpy before watching the film but, after watching that hideous 10-foot fly, I've become a little more cautionary and fearful of insects, more particulary flies and whenever I watch the film I always skip the last part... one time was more than enough, thank you!

So what you waiting for? Go ahead watch this film!


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The Jungle Book review

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 5 April 2012 08:32 (A review of The Jungle Book)

Should there be a search for the perfect Disney movie then The Jungle Book is one of the nominees. Granted it's not the greatest Disney production ever but it will always be in the top 5 but it surely is the greatest in voice-overs. That's right, Jungle Book has the greatest V.O. acting in the history of cartoons. I mean it, from the Elephants to the Wolves to the Vultures, everyone did an excellent job.

The animation is simple and beautiful and almost every character is likable, if not then just the heroes, Bagheera and Baloo and from the supporting I like Colonel Hathi the best, followed by King Louie a close second. The latter's song is so infectious and groovy that it gets you tapping along with it. Disney can't make songs like that anymore now. Overall, even though it strays too far from the original, the end result is very beautiful and charming with a host of unforgettable characters and sequences that will get that nostalgia feeling hitting you from all sides.

Continuing on my habit of talking about Disney Villains, I think Shere Khan is probably the greatest feline villain ever. Not even Scar can match. With such a deep, rich voice and a dignified demeanor what's not to like? I would rank Shere Khan as the 4th best Disney villain of all time!


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The Illusionist (2006) review

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 4 April 2012 09:24 (A review of The Illusionist (2006))

Now this is how a movie should be made. The Illusionist is one of the finest movies of modern times and surely one of the most beautiful, visual- and directing-wise. I liked the intro. It was minimal, intriguing and probably the best way to start off a film so enigmatically that, even before the film has started proper, the gears in your head start spinning. I remember watching it for the first time when it came out, they were showing it on TV and I was impressed not only by the beautiness of it but also the cast. Since I also mentioned this film in my review of The Prestige, I'm gonna do the same here. I purposely saw The Illusionist again so I could convince myself whether or not is it better than The Prestige and now I've come to the conclusion that it certainly is better than The Prestige.

The reason why I'm so hellbent on comparing the two is because they're almost similar, you know, with almost the same era (give or take few years) and all the stage acts and everything and both have in-your-face climaxes. Both are adapted from books but frankly speaking the art of story-telling is much better in this one. If The Prestige has one of modern cinema's best rivalry, then The Illusionist has one of the best romance. All the characters are greatly detailed and are played masterfully by the cast and each provide distinct identities to their performances.

Speaking of performances, the one actor who the film belongs to is Paul Giamatti as Chief Inspector Uhl, who also acts as the narrator for the first half. In my opinion, an Oscar-worthy role which, sadly, he did not get nominated for, another mistake by the Academy. Inspector Uhl is a character torn apart by his admiration for Eisenheim and his loyalty to Prince Leopold and he played it in such an aquiline manner that it's near impossible not to be bowled over by his performance. His revelation at the end (the best moment in the film) is arguably his best moment. His expression, his laugh, everything. Then of course we have Edward Norton as Eisenheim, one of the best screen heroes. Not only he handles his character masterfully but he also gives a depth and understanding to the hero. Then of course Rufus Sewell as Prince Leopold, the main antagonist, gives an equally great performance and from the others, Jessica Biel as Duchess Sophie von Teschen and Eddie Marsan as Josef Fischer. He is one of the best under-rated actors out there and I suggest you keep an eye out for him.

So, in conclusion, this is a highly recommended film from me and if you're a fan of visually beautiful moments then this a film to watch. The love story is one of the best and the chemistry shared between the principal cast is amazing. At least it's better than The Prestige!!!


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The Prestige (2006) review

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 3 April 2012 05:48 (A review of The Prestige (2006))

I opened this film with an enthusiastic heart but, frankly speaking, closed the film with an empty feeling. I was left nonplussed by the climax where the enigmatic Fallon comes into full light. That's a little too much stretching there don't you think? I haven't read the novel but I can say you this that Christopher Nolan may have given the characters expert hands and the ability to amaze the in-film audience with their mastery but he himself could not produce that effect. He disguised the show-stopper quite thinly. I could see the end coming from a mile away but nevertheless, the film was great and nowhere near a disappointment or worst.

The rivalry between Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) is one of modern cinema's best. Both the actors masterfully played their roles with the former being the best performance in the film. Jackman always had a unique stage charisma and it was of no wonder that all of his stage scenes were brilliant and smooth. Any scene sans-Jackman, Christian Bale had the top hand. The supporting were also excellent. Michael Caine has always been an interesting supporting character in recent years and in here he was just brilliant. The most surprising element was David Bowie as Nikola Tesla. Man, will his charisma and the power to dominate ever diminish? He should appear in more roles like these: small but everlasting. From the females I enjoyed Rebecca Hall as Sarah. Whereas Scarlett Johansson was more of an eye-candy extra cast and nothing more.

I would like to call in another film here: The Illusionist, released in the same year and almost in the same vein, being mindf*** and almost in the same setting. The reason why I liked The Illusionist more is because it had more depth and a much better art of story-telling whereas this one was done to confuse and press the replay button again. I guess you can say the non-linear storyline didn't quite work it's charm and should've used another technique.

All in all, in the performance field it's top notch but in the others, it's a bit lacking, sorry to say that!


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Stand by Me (1986) review

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 2 April 2012 04:32 (A review of Stand by Me (1986))

All of Rob Reiner's films released in the 80's were great but Stand By Me over-takes them all and is now currently my no. 1 favourite film from him. The film, which borrows the title from the classic Ben E. King song of the same name, is the silver-screen adaptation of his novella, The Body and is a rather impressive movie and a very thoughtful one at that. I still haven't read the novella but something tells me I would be very, very soon. The way the four leads are described is realistic and amazing. Everyone did a tremendous job and signalling only one out would be a shame and I think everyone should be given equal credit.

Stand By Me is one of those films I've seen which bought back many memories. I mean, the 4 kids and how they acted reminded me of my time in school with my classmates. I was the Vern of my group while looking almost like Gordie and had glasses like Teddy. With great direction, amazing performances and great selection of 50's songs, Stand By Me should be viewed not just as a film but rather like a trip down memory lane. A beautiful, touching movie.


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Superman Returns review

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 1 April 2012 08:01 (A review of Superman Returns)

Hate it or love it but Superman Returns proves why Bryan Singer is one of the top 3 superhero film directors. Unlike Nolan or Raimi, he is the only one to direct three great superhero movies in the 2000's and that too back-to-back. I've always liked X-Men and it's sequel and seeing another superhero flick from him was expected and frankly speaking, this one was much more mature and bold. The casting of Brandon Routh was perfect. No, I mean it. He had the looks and the screen charisma for the role and I still haven't seen the original 1977 so I won't compare Reeve and Routh just yet. He handled both Clark Kent & Superman almost too easily and never once did he falter. The rest of the supporting were good, especially Parker Posey as Kitty and Kevin Spacey. Since he had worked with Bryan Singer on The Usual Suspects and had played a number of villain roles prior to this one, Lex Luthor was just another villain-ish role for him and he handled it perfectly. However, the casting of Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane was the flaw here. Nothing personal against the actress, but she wasn't convincing enough. Sure, she was easy on the eye but she managed to drain the power behind any scene she appeared in.

As much as I like the film and the cast (well, most of them anyhow), it certainly was not better than any of Singer's previous works and just manages to be a good superhero movie and nothing more.


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Léon: The Professional (1994) review

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 29 March 2012 11:46 (A review of Léon: The Professional (1994))

The opening! That's it. I'm gonna talk about that right now. The opening is arguably one of the greatest intros to a film I've ever seen. It's so greatly choreographed and well detailed. The intro is like a trailer, a taste of things to yet to come and it works brilliantly. It's not like any of those James Bond movies where Mr. Bond magically appears from nowhere, says a cheesy quote and goes out with the same expression on his face. This one seemed real and more professional. Then one of the best scenes follows: The hallway scene where all of the major characters meet, not knowing they would be affected by one another in some sort of way. It was such a great moment and I liked the atmosphere.

The cinematography is great and it's very entertaining to watch whereas it's a little low on dialogues though. But I think the great performances and an addicting storyline kinda made it up for that, so no worries. Speaking of performances, I haven't still seen much material of Jean Reno (Leon) and Natalie Portman (Mathilda) and this is the first time I'm seeing the former as a lead and boy, was he impressive. He tackled the character in a distinctive way and no matter how much it gets remade, the character will always be Jean Reno and no-one else. Then the latter as Mathilda, a sort of like a pre-Hit-Girl and a superb performance at that. I've just seen 2-3 of her films but this one stands out as her best, performance-wise. I liked all her scenes which involved crying because she is one of the handful of actors who can cry realistically and with emotion. Then of course we have Gary Oldman as the antagonist, Norman Stansfield in one of his more better performances. Now him I've seen many times and seeing another classic performance from him was imminent. He has the ability to become his character so much that you cannot recognize him in the first try. It's almost a given that any character named Norman is a villain and this one stands as one of the greatest psychopaths ever to grace the silver screen with his sporadic appearances. It reminded me of a mix between The Joker and Taha from B13. A performance well deserved for a nomination. Frankly speaking, I think all 3 main leads should've been nominated as this certainly was one of their high points.

All in all, like I said, the cinematography is great and there are indeed funny moments which will put a smile on your face and shocking moments which I bet you didn't see it coming. It's a fun movie that actually has a great romance sub-story better than most and some truly great moments.

+ One more thing: I downloaded the Director's Cut edition and, by referencing Wikipedia, saw that all scenes appeared as mentioned in the list but still some members say something about a pedophile love scene between Leon & Mathilda. It never showed up... can you tell me what this scene is all about??


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Silent Hill review

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 28 March 2012 02:00 (A review of Silent Hill)

It's no secret: Silent Hill is my most watched movie of all time. I must've seen it over 20 times and each time I love it more & more. Granted, it's nothing in front of the horror classics, as most of the 21st Century horror movies are, but it's certainly one of the best released in the 2000's. I haven't played any game so I cannot deny or confirm how much true did it stay to the storyline or the mood. When I first heard of this film I thought it would be a psychological film with aliens from outer space. At least I was right about the first part. Sorry to disappoint you but there no aliens but rather demonic personifications of the disturbed mind (thats how it is, right?) and a great creepy theme to go with it. The opening of the theme song is like as if a huge monster is shuffling towards you and the atmosphere is akin to an empty school with flickering lights. Absolutely LOVED it!

On the surface, it seems sweet and luring but underneath a monster resides, a monster so grippingly arresting that it refuses to let you go - I'm describing the film, mind you, not quoting a book or a poem. The cinematography is good and I kinda lied earlier - I've indeed played the original game but only the starting 7-8 minutes and that too barely. The scene where Rose (the protagonist) is going through the dark alley with just a lighter for a source does great justice to the game (if just that scene) and I liked it. I guess I kinda like fixed camera shots. One thing I like is that it doesn't have too many of those shadow shots or sudden camera scenes where a shadow of someone, or something, quickly moves in front of the camera. It did have but not too many and that would've messed it up. I liked the school interior scenes as they were truly creepy but nothing can beat the hospital underground scene with the twitchy nurses (who else thought they were sexy?) I mean, come on, that moment was intense and scary. It was quite funny but since that was not what they were aiming for, the other effect came forward: THE HORROR! The flashback sequence that follows immediately after was a little too fast but it was like the ending of Limbo, a recently published game. It was rather peaceful and dreamy, something like a big devil spirit has been lifted, something like that.

Let's go to the performances (the one reason why I write reviews LOL!) The film has a great cast of under-rated actors / actresses. All of these are brilliant actors and this film is one of the better reasons why. We have Radha Mitchell in the lead as Rose, one of her best performances to date and subsequetly, one of the best horror performances. She made Rose a likable character. Then we have Kim Coates, Sean Bean, Deborah Kara Unger and Alice Krige in supporting, and important, roles. Now you may have heard them somewhere else but I bet you may have not seen them altogether. Check this film out to believe it for yourself. But of course, I'm still missing one more: Jodelle Ferland as a dual role; Sharon Da Silva and Alessa Gillespie. She has such a great dark personality and looks and a very haunting quality to her appearance. She was like a post-Daviegh Chase and pre-Isabelle Fuhrmann. Arguably one of the greatest child performances of recent times. Another that deserves to be mentioned is Roberto Campanella as Pyramid Head and Colin the Janitor. In both cases he was required to wear heavy prosthetic and makeup and I like actors who manage to steal the show with their sporadic screen appearances as monsters (Doug Jones as The Pale Man, Gunnar Hanson as Leatherface etc...) that it automatically becomes the sole focus of the scene and stays with you for long minutes. A rather great job there.

The ending, I won't go into details, was quite bittersweet but I liked it that it ended that way. Anyway, for fans who have played the game(s) might not like it but those who haven't will find it entertaining and scary at the right moments. For trained eyes, however, it could be a little shallow but who knows...?


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