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Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)

Director: Werner Herzog and Dmitry Vasyukov Genre: Documentary With "Happy People: A Year in the Taiga" Werner Herzog ...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Immortals (2011)

Director: Tarsem Singh
Cast: Henry Cavill, Luke Evans, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt
Genre: Fantasy, Action

Plot: One man alone must carry the burden of God's trust.

Immortals (2011)

This again is a movie involving Greek mythology. If you already haven't seen "Clash of the Titans" then let me tell you it is quite similar in terms of three primary groups involved--mortal men, Gods, and a mad King. Of course, King wants to rule the World and free the Titans that were once defeated and imprisoned under Maount Tartaros by Gods. As a rule, God don't meddle in the business of mortals. Amidst all this is a coveted weapon 'Epirus bow' created by Ares, the God of War.
 
The action sequences are good, though nothing over-the-top. There are some moments that do rush your adrenaline. Like the fight scene where Theseus's mother is slain by mad King Hyperion (Rourke), and final battle scene involving all the Gods--kind of uber-cool battle sequence!

Indian connection: if only Frieda Pinto had a substantial role, though she does make her presence felt in this short role.

The entire movie is good to look at...very creative in terms of picturization and set design. 3d effects are perfect too.

One weakness: It doesn't make much use of Henry Cavill's full potential and the most-wanted bow is merely a showpiece. What you do see of Cavill is quite promising. Thumbs-up from me for upcoming Superman :) 

One plus point: Look of Zeus/Gods. Gods don't age or get sick. They are immortal. So, why shouldn't they look younger? This look of Zeus (Luke Evans) is best ever by me. And Atehna (Isabel Lucas) is seething hot! And this 'younger look' makes the already impressive final battle even more attractive.

Sadly, this again leaves a lot to an upcoming sequel and promises to reach the level next in that! Gods will battle the Titans and that is supposed to be huge.

You might have already seen whatever has been shown in this movie (read 300, Alexander, Troy etc) but it shows all that again pretty spectacularly.

Better made than Clash of Titans.

6.5/10

Friday, November 11, 2011

Let the Right One In (2008, Swedish)

Director: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson
Genre: Drama

Oskar (Hedebrant) is a 12 year old who is always bossed around by some boys in his class. He is too timid to take a stand. Finally, it takes a Vampire to spur him on.

This is a low budget, albeit well made, Swedish film. The movie is more about innocent bond that Oskar shares with vampire Eli (Leandersson). She is his courage, someone he could talk to, and for Eli Oskar is the emotional support, companion she needs. They always look after each other and are best of friends. Unlike Twilight, it’s not a love story. Both the protagonists deliver solid performances and their combined scenes don’t seem like being acted out at all.

The director does a brilliant job in seamlessly embedding a vampire tale to a normal day-to-day life of a small Stockholm town. The movie in itself is quite bizarre and cannot justify what was the point of such a story, apart from satisfying the creative pangs of an artist. Yes, it is entirely a director’s movie, for himself and a niche audience. And it is during such self-satisfying works that the overflow of creative juices results in great movies.

It has moral value – a boy learns to be brave. However, overall treatment is quite unusual. Not sure, what the actual novel tried to convey. In all, the movie is an artistic achievement in dealing with intricacies of human nature.

With so many vampire movies around—not commenting on their being good or bad, or any other comparisons—this one seems very real and is like a breath of fresh air.

8.4/10

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (2011)

Director: Steven Spielberg
Genre: Animation
Cast: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig
Plot: Tintin begins his adventure!

Spielberg does it again. Film is pure magic--each and every frame of movie is like turning the pages of comic book...Spielberg probably has some secret device with which he brought all the characters from comic-book to life and put them on screen!

He does take a few liberties for slight modifications from comic-book--like Tintin-Haddock introduction scene. However, this is only to extend the Tintin adventure beyond the Beyond, and I am definitely not complaining.

The show stealer for me was our brave little Snowy! Just watch out for his expressions and movements--perfection personified in animation.
This is also one of the most beautiful animation ever -- capturing tiniest of details of the breathtaking scenery, characters, objects, like never before.

Being a huge Tittin fan already, I found it a little too short! I hope there are sequels to follow and the adventure gets bigger and better.

Thank you Spielberg, Jackson, and all others involved for bringing this ever-young, legendary (and probably forgotten to current entertainment media) adventurer to this generation!

The picture explains what I mean by bringing comic-book to life!

7.5/10

Saturday, November 5, 2011

House of Flying Daggers (2004, Chinese)

Director: Zhang Yimou                      
Cast: Ziyi Zhang, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau
Genre: Action, Drama

Plot: Chinese dynasty rule is plagued by various rebellions—“House of Flying Daggers” is one such rebel group.  
House of Flying Daggers

Contrary to what the name suggests, this wuxia film isn’t a high-octane dose of martial arts, it’s rather well-balanced with a heartwarming/wrenching tale of love.

The initial action scenes may not stir you much and you may not find them outstanding, but that is deliberately done only to build up tempo of the movie. As the movie progresses it starts to grip you. While protagonists run from law the vista changes constantly from deep forest to flowery meadow to bamboo forest to golden brown of autumn – bringing back memories of my recent Roopkund trek :)
The forest fight scene and bamboo jungle scene are top notch even remind you of “Crouching Tigers Hidden Dragons”. Bow-arrow scenes are nifty but LOTR-Legolas remains my personal favorite. The daggers are really cool! They are so made to even work as a boomerang!

It would have been a 7+ for me had it not climaxed the way it did. Astounding climax, not just story-wise but visually too – especially visually, and perfectly executed! Totally takes you unawares…didn't expect it to be so...what can I say? only "Rebecca" did this to me before! 

Some Trivia: There was supposed to be no snow-fall in the climax scene but it snowed while shooting and that gelled so beautifully with the scene, adding even more weight to it.


Strongest aspect of this movie is its striking visual/natural beauty and use of various bright colors. What Argento does with colors in his Horror movies, Yimou does in his Drama/Action—he actually betters him.

A must watch, highly recommended if you want to experience nature up-close on screen!

8.2/10
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