Posted on 6/13/12 12:02 AM
Well in the beginning I was thinking where I should start with.
Having seen the first part 'Transformers' I knew this movie will of course not be the type where lots of grey cells need to be nurtured.
I have always been a fan of Science Fiction movies, but to consider Michael Bay's Transformers Revenge of the Fallen is like making fun of some legendary directors like Steven Spielberg, Steven Soderbergh, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas & of course James Cameron.
Well though I grew up during the time of animated transformers, I had never seen one. So without hurting the feeling of all the hardcore followers of this franchise, my personal outlook on this 2nd sequel is how can we put this title in the shelf of Science Fiction? I enjoyed little bit of the first part only because of the visual effects which was definitely praise worthy. In the beginning of the first movie itself we were told the origin. Whether everyone will agree with me or not, but I feel that the only reason for making "Revenge of the Fallen" was for the sake of keeping the franchise alive and to milk as much of money it could have extracted from the box office. I feel hardcore faction of Terminator & Alien Series will agree with me to some extent.
Firstly in the 2nd part way too many new characters were included as such I hardly cared for any one of them. May be I saw this just for some computer generated robots and because of hot "Megan Fox"....:)
The basic plot remains the same, hapless human caught in the war between Autobots and Decepticons. I think by this time almost every one has seen this movie, but for those who have not yet seen, the story in short, its revealed long time back some ancient clan of 'Transformers' moved from universe to universe in search of 'Energon'(Sounded to me like Eragon) sources. In order to do so they used devices called as 'Harvesters' to draw the energy from the stars in order to power "All Spark" which I think every one knows had been the central theme of the prequel. Any way these Transformers were called as "Dynasty of Prime" who had some principle of their own....funny isn't it (they too had philosophers like we human...)) to spare the planets which had life. Naturally some one has to break this, other wise we will not have the 2nd Part...so we learn one of the member (who will be known as 'Fallen') of this special clan makes one of the Harvester on Earth. So in order to hide the key which drives this device rest of the Prime sacrifices their life...rest I think you can pretty well guess what would have followed. Whoa!!! What a story...seems like it will put 'Aliens' even to shame.
When it comes to acting I think there is barely any thing you will notice in CGI Robots who are way too busy kicking each others'ass. Never felt sorry for fallen Autobots because that depth had been missing from the very beginning itself. This movie is simply for those who just like actions without much logic to work on. Though the box office had shown pretty positive market for this sequel, sometimes I feel...have the viewers lost the very essence of Science Fiction Movies...hopefully Cameron's highly anticipated movie 'AVATAR' will revive this lost genre. I think Spielberg's presence in the production shoes might have helped in boosting the visual effects to some great extent. So to finish with, if some has missed this movie, you can pretty well skip, otherwise you can rent it or download it but truly this does not deserve to be purchased. Rest is up to individuals...as everyone's view should be valued after all we all do have diverse taste and it may hold opposing views. Hope you will accept my take on this movie. Well your rating will definitely show cause it.
Posted on 1/17/11 05:55 AM
Joseph Kosinski's Tron Legacy is more of a visual feat than a tangible science fiction tale. Comparing to its'82 prequel Tron, this one was definitely a step up only if you are more concerned with visuals; still at some point the story seemed to lack the essence at certain phase. Here we take a trip to the digital world very similar to what we have seen earlier in Matrix though the transition was quite different.
Once again we meet Kevin Flynn, a mastermind software engineer & CEO of ENCOM. When he goes missing for roughly two decades shortly after making a breakthrough in cyber technology his son Sam grows up without any parents. Believing his father to be dead; Sam takes little interest in taking active role in Flynn's company despite assertion from old family friend Alan, who also happens to be the board member of ENCOM. When Alan receives a strange pager message from Kevin's old arcade, Sam goes to investigate & accidentally triggers a laser which transports him to the GRID; an alternate reality within the computer world. However this world is ruled by his father's alter ego, Clu a fanatical dictator. Finally when Sam meets his father who happens to be trapped for long, they team up together to escape the GRID & prevent Clu from crossing over to the real world for global supremacy.
The actions are dazzling though there are quite a few of them. Jeff Bridges once again revives the role of Kevin Flynn from Tron. In spite of the limitation in the script he worked out his character eloquently. Olivia Wilde's role as the protégé of older Flynn, Quorra brought some sensuality & sexiness in her role though it was left less explored. The soundtrack however is really good & might provide some stiff competition for Inception during the upcoming 83rd Academy Awards ceremonial. Tron Legacy had the potential to advance the story after considering the time it had taken to come up, still the visual variety was something which saved this to a great extent.
Note : Also posted at http://debmoviereviews.blogspot.com/2011/01/tron-legacy-2010.html
Posted on 1/16/11 09:37 AM
Dedication & obsession are two distinct features which can be well understood once you take a look at Black Swan. You don't need to have a deep understanding of ballet to enjoy this film. The story works more or less as a psychological thriller. Darren Aronofsky has taken his time to emphasize not just the perspective of the art but also the psyche of the paranoid spirit who serves as the heart & soul of this movie.
Nina Sayers is an aspiring ballerina who has long being cared by her controlling mother. A prominent New York ballet company was in lookout for a new star who could take up the role of a Swan Queen for their forthcoming show Swan Lake. This has been the dream role Nina had been prying for so long. However the company's director Thomas was reluctant to give Nina the role as the new re-imaging version of Swan Queen required the duality of a white & black swan's persona. Nina's dance skill was perfect to cast her as the white swan but she lacked the freeness & sensuality to foster the seductiveness of the black swan which was necessary for the show. Thomas was keen to cast Lily; another aspirant, as the black swan as she had the expertise to elicit the sexuality required. Even after winning the role Nina started to suffer from extreme hallucinations & paranoia as she felt Lily as a potential threat to her career. To what extent a fixation can damage human psyche has been adequately explored through Nina.
This year can be promising for Natalie Portman if she wins the award for Best Actress for the approaching 83rd Academy Awards. The credit is well justified; her role as Nina Sayers electrifies the entire movie. Apart from great acting her intense ballet training did paid off. Almost all the female casts did good starting from Mila Kunis as Lily & Winona Ryder even though her screen presence was limited. Black Swan loves to venture into the darkness & in a way it truly succeeds. The blend of art & passion has never been so intense.
Note : Also posted at http://debmoviereviews.blogspot.com/2011/01/black-swan-2010.html
Posted on 1/16/11 09:36 AM
Coen brothers have done it yet again with their latest western masterpiece True Grit. With a tight script & absolutely stunning performances from Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon & novice Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit proves to be a commendable film & worthy enough to join the league of other legendary westerns like Unforgiven, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.
The movie begins with the narration from aged Mattie Ross who explains that when she was fourteen her father was murdered by one of his hired hands named Tom Chaney. Before making the final gate way he took her father's horses & two California gold pieces. Distressed with the chain of events she wanted to avenge her father's death. After some inquisition she came across one U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn whom she promised a reward of fifty dollars provided he tracked Chaney & brought him to justice. In the meantime a Texas Ranger named La Boeuf arrives on the trail of Chaney. He offers Mattie his assistance & reveals that he had been in pursuit of Chaney for several months over a murder of a state senator at Texas. Mattie however rejects Boeuf's offer when she realizes that Boeuf was more interested in the bounty put up by the Texas government & taking Chaney back would not serve her purpose which was punishing him for murdering her father. So how they square their differences before going for the man hunt is what this story all about.
Jeff Bridges delivers a stupendous performance as Marshal Cogburn, a one eyed drunk. The conflict between Boeuf & Cogburn was well portrayed. Well all the praises cannot be accounted for only male leads, Hailee Steinfeld as young Mattie Ross nailed the character as the head strong girl who was ready to avenge her father's death. It was hard to believe that True Grit was her first contribution to mainstream movies. This was definitely Coen brothers' first western movie yet with great cinematography & soundtrack they have flared marvelously their very own classic that will be remembered for the days to come. It's really elevating to know that such western movies can still be made.
Note : Also posted at http://debmoviereviews.blogspot.com/2011/01/true-grit-2010.html
Posted on 1/16/11 09:35 AM
When it comes to boxing couple of movies straight away comes to mind; the most prominent of those are Rocky, Raging Bull & Cinderella Man. Making biographical sports film can be tricky as it might not work if not expertly recounted. The Fighter is not the kind of movie which we have not seen earlier but its presence is highly accelerated by great performances put up by Amy Adams, Christian Bale & Mark Wahlberg.
The film centers the life story of former professional boxer Micky Ward also known as Irish to his fans & his half brother Dicky Eklund. The story opens in early '90s on the streets of Lowell, Massachusetts where some crew from HBO has been documenting Micky's older brother's daily routine. Although in the beginning they revealed that the short film was supposed to be on how influence of cocaine can destroy lives; Dicky still believed it to be on his celebrated comeback as he himself was a former New England Welterweight Champion. Even though Dicky had some initial success for the time being he had been working as Micky's trainer although he spent most of his time in crack house smoking pots. When the ineffective training & inept assistance from his mother as manager lands Micky into a bad fight; Micky realizes that some alteration was indeed required. Soon Dicky's association with criminal activities leads him to imprisonment thus leaving Micky to hire thereafter a new manager & a trainer. When a new girl; Charlene enters Micky's life friction starts to happen with his already dysfunctional family which threatens to wreck his career. How he works against odds to get a respectable return in the boxing circuit is the main content of The Fighter.
Though the story is fairly predictable the performance from Christian Bale as Dicky was purely exemplary; if I need to put this in one word. In order to bring forth the drug addiction Bale lost weight which I assume was not hard as he had earlier mastered that feat in The Machinist. The drama elements were natural & the entire castings did great to make the fractured family look believable. The settings did work out giving the notion of the downtown Lowell. The chances are that this movie might get some nominations for 83rd Academy Awards with Bale as the frontrunner for Best Supporting Actor.
Note : Also posted at http://debmoviereviews.blogspot.com/2011/01/fighter-2010.html
Posted on 1/16/11 09:33 AM
After not so memorable 2003's adaptation on Hulk, Universal Pictures' reboot on one of the greatest Marvel Comics character The Hulk proved to be rewarding. For those who are not familiar with this character, Hulk is a raging humanoid giant green monster & an alter ego of Dr. Bruce Banner, a physicist who after a terrible accident involving gamma radiation caused him to undergo transformation. However his uncontrolled alteration was not permanent & rage was the triggering factor for him to change.
During the opening credits the back story of the Hulk is told. It is revealed that Dr. Bruce Banner naively became pawn to a military scheme under the leadership of General Ross who wanted to revive a Second World War era super soldier program through controlled gamma radiation. The experiment however fails & transforms Bruce into a raging monster. During the commotion general's daughter Betty (Liv Tyler) gets injured who also happens to be Bruce's love interest. Now on the run from the army Banner takes refuge in a small town Rocinha at Brazil working at a soda bottling factory. Banner tries to find an antidote for his condition & refuses to share this power for military purposes. Situation gets worse when Ross brings in Emil Blonsky a meaner & deadly Royal Marine; subjecting him to the super soldier program hoping to confront Hulk which ultimately fails resulting to an even greater debacle.
Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk can be professed as a worthy addition to the Marvel Studios. Edward Norton suited perfectly as the emotional Dr. Bruce who was not in control of his impulsive alter ego. Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky proved to be a creditable adversary during the climatic battle against Hulk. The special effects in particular the facial expression & the skin tone of Hulk was much better than the 2003 version. The fast pacing also made the overall experience appealing. Of course this movie cannot be compared with legendary The Dark Knight or even Iron Man nevertheless this movie still serves as a righteous sketch of one of the terrific character from the Marvel universe.
Note : Also posted at
Posted on 1/16/11 09:31 AM
'This is my rifle, there are many like it but this is mine. Without my rifle, I am nothing. Without me, my rifle is nothing.'
I am sure you all might be thinking about this idiom taken from Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, well this time it's Sam Mendes' Jarhead. This is based on the chronicle of U.S. Marine Anthony Swofford's first hand experience in First Gulf War. If you are expecting another gun blazing war saga then you might fairly be disappointed because this movie is actually a drama rather than a war biopic.
The movie starts with Swofford's a.k.a Swoff joining the Marine Corps & undergoing the dehumanizing process very similar to what we have seen earlier in movies like Full Metal Jacket but by far less charismatic drill instructor; who can ever forget the legendary Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from Kubrick's masterpiece. After boot camp Swoff is sent to Camp Pendleton where he is drafted to scout sniper course under the command of Staff Sergeant Sykes. Soon after Kuwait's invasion by Iraq, Swofford's unit gets dispatched to the Persian Gulf as a part of Operation Desert Shield. Eager to see action which never actually arrives he becomes jaded, frustrated & disillusioned. Eventually after the long stand when Operation Desert Storm begins, his unit never gets the chance to get into real fight. Soon after the end of war Swofford realizes that his entire tenure was actually spent on crossing never ending desert, running into burning oil wells lit by retreating Iraqis & marching through Highway of Death.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Swofford did pretty decent job to bring out the life of a Marine Corpsman yet it would have been better if he had shown some depth to the actual emotional turmoil & frustration Swofford went through during the campaign. Rest of the castings did great to depict the routine of the marines including Jamie Foxx as charming Sergeant Sykes. The overall cinematography made it look more like a concrete documentary rather than a movie.
Jarhead cannot be measured against Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker ; still if you like to experience the First Gulf War from the marines perspective who never got the chance to fight give this a try.
Note : Also posted at http://debmoviereviews.blogspot.com/2011/01/jarhead-2005.html
Posted on 1/16/11 09:30 AM
After Ridley Scott's grand de tour with Alien, it was natural to expect a creditable sequel. With Aliens, James Cameron not only refined the franchise further but created a masterpiece even better than it's original. Apart from the horror elements already seen in its prequel, Cameron had taken a different approach & flared the story with heart pulsating action.
Events in Aliens kick starts right after where it ended in Alien. After surviving the horrors from the space freighter Nostromo, Ripley gets drifted into space for fifty seven years until she gets rescued & revived from hypersleep. Things turn murky when her employer Weyland Corporation cancels her space flight license for dubious action taken for destroying Nostromo as they were not able to ascertain the alien life form. Ripley's testimony is even met with cynicism as no sightings of alien eggs were reported by colonists at LV-426 who were now working to establish terraforming colony. When all of a sudden communication is lost with the colonists, the company requests Ripley to act as an advisor & escort a group of high-tech colonial marines back to LV-426 to establish the situation. Initially Ripley refuses but sooner she realizes that the only way to surmount her fear is to confront it head on.
The movie is irrefutably well scripted but it's the actors who have fleshed out the story so well. Sigourney Weaver's stupendous performance as Ellen Ripley earned her an Academy Awards' nomination for the best actress back in 1986. The character of Ripley is still measured as one of the most significant & memorable persona in the movie history. By the time the end credit starts rolling you will all be depleted. Truly, some times it makes me actually think that James Cameron was born to make this epic tale. Aliens is not only one of the Cameron's best conception but also one of the most treasured science fiction sagas in history.
Note : Also posted at http://debmoviereviews.blogspot.com/2011/01/aliens-1986.html
Posted on 1/16/11 09:29 AM
Andrzej Bartkowiak's Doom is based on one of the most admired video game series of the same name. Having not played this game, this movie had been some sort of first hand experience for me. As you all might know that Hollywood never did well when it came to movies adapted from video games, I had been very skeptic before actually seeing it. Honestly, I never hated this as most people really do but definitely this movie has its share of flaws. How much credible story was in fact taken from the game is quite difficult to say but as a stand alone science fiction horror film, Doom was quite acceptable.
It is revealed that in the year 2026, archaeologists working in Nevada desert discovered a portal to an ancient civilization on Mars. They called this portal the ARK. Scientists were baffled by the technology & wondered why it was really built & what happened to that mysterious civilization. Twenty years later when scientists stationed at Mars working for Union Aerospace Corporation gets attacked by an unknown entity, Dr. Carmack's last message about a Level 5 security breach brings in special marines known as RRTS 'Rapid Response Tactical Team' to access the situation & deal with the threat. What happens to these marines & the doomed people is what this movie all about.
Since this movie was a science fiction action flick it was natural to see less characterization. We don't get to know much about the RRTS members except a few before they move into the research facility at Mars. The major issue with this movie had been the light effects; too many critical situations were shot in the dark making it difficult to understand what was really happening. In the final stage the forceful inclusion of the third person shooter view was quite superfluous. The weapon gears for the marines were quite imposing but again it was nothing new which we might have not seen earlier in similar genre movies. Though there had been some cool technologies like the Nano wall or the ARK travel itself, lots of features seemed to be left unexplained like the civilization which had been responsible for bioengineering chromosome 24. Karl Urban as Reaper & Dwayne Johnson as Sarge did pretty well considering the script. By the second half it was quite predictable to know which members will make out alive from the facility. Whether this movie can really be said as the best video game to movie transition ever is for you all to decide. Just enjoy this movie as it was meant to be.
Note : Also posted at http://debmoviereviews.blogspot.com/2011/01/doom-2005.html
Posted on 12/24/10 02:25 AM
Joss Whedon's Serenity is not just about special effects; with intricate narrative it's an engaging science fiction saga. Even though shot with a limited budget, the production design was very impressive.
Plot : In a distant future, mankind has established living colonies at far away star systems. It seems that most of the inner planetary systems were under the control of newly shaped authority called Alliance. The story soon drifts towards a psychic girl named River (Summer Glau) with mysterious powers, who seems to be manipulated by the Alliance to use her as a weapon against those who defy their pledge. After being rescued by her brother Simon (Sean Maher), they take refuge in a mercenary ship Serenity captained by Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Filion), who also happens to be a veteran in a rebellion against the Alliance. Things were going right until River's mental instability causes the captain to question the safety of his crew, at the same time they are being pursued by an elite assassin who will not stop till he eliminates River, as she carries a treacherous secret which can bring down the alliance power from galactic supremacy.
Apart from the imposing effects, the action infused was top notch, specially the ones displayed by Glau in close quarters combat. The movie ends with an open note making us believe for a possible sequel in the future. Serenity cannot be compared with other science fiction movies like Star Wars etc., still as a stand alone it does great to allure the viewers.
Note : http://debmoviereviews.blogspot.com/2010/12/serenity-2005.html