Thursday, December 8, 2011

Warrior (2011)

"The only thing that I have in common with Brendan is that, pair of us, we have absolutely no use for you. ~ Tommy"

Warrior is a coming of age story of struggle & endurance. We have seen something alike in last year’s acclaiming movie The Fighter.

Plot : We are introduced to Tommy a former marine who drops in to pay a visit to his estranged alcoholic father Paddy, a former coach of Mixed Martial Arts. Soon we learn about Tommy’s elder brother, Brendan who works as a high school Physics teacher seems to be stressed financially to support his wife & two kids. Brendan & Tommy do not seem to have a cordial relation because of some precedent misapprehension. Even worse, they both hate Paddy for his past abusive nature. Fate however brings both brothers to the arena against each other in mixed martial art tournament for a take away of five million dollars. One likes to win to overcome bankruptcy & support family, the other one has to win so that he can help a widow & her children of his fallen mate from Marine Corps.

At one point it becomes obvious when we don’t like the brothers to lose. It’s strange but true. Nick Nolte as Paddy nailed his character as the regretful father who wishes to sober up in his remaining days. Joel Edgerton seems to be right pick by Gavin O’Conner who reminds us of Jim Braddock from Cinderella Man. Tom Hardy once again proves his worth as a multitalented actor who can switch to any roles he is given to act upon.

With intense fight sequences & riveting tale, Warrior would undeniably stand out as show stopper for the days to come.

My Rating : 8.5/10

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Drive (2011)

"If I drive for you, you get your money; that’s a guarantee.
You tell me where we start, where we’re going, where we are going afterwards; I give you five minutes when we get there, anything happens in those five minutes I’m yours no matter what. Anything a minute either side of that & you’re on your own. I don’t sit in while you’re running it down. I don’t carry a gun. I drive."

Drive is a kind of movie which would gratify nearly all the generic viewers. Ryan Gosling’s new avatar as the shadowy driver is just a paradigm of how good he can be with diverse roles. Even though the story is simple the cinematography & Cliff Martinez’s phenomenal soundtrack will keep you hooked until the end. With a blend of dark story, implicit romance & acute violence Nicolas Refn delivers this year’s best crime noir.

Plot : Ryan Gosling enacts as the anonymous driver, he works as a part-time stunt driver & a mechanic. Sometimes he even takes on wheels as a getaway driver. As the plot commence it’s made quite evident by Ryan’s driving talent when he carters two burglars after their successful heist. He works alone, follows some strict code; five minutes for ending every deal & never to work for the same people twice. Things change, when he falls for his neighbor, a single mom named Irene Carey Mulligan who stays with her small son. When Irene’s husband, Standard Oscar Isaac returns from prison, the driver tries to help the family to wrap up one final job which would help in paying off debts that Standard owed to local mobster for buying protection while he was in prison. The job however turns murky when driver finds himself being deceived in a dirty deal that threatens to destroy everything he loved so intensely.

Drive offers everything you would like to expect from a crime drama. It does not finish with the regular note we are used to see so often. Refn has skillfully polished the story with talented castings which would definitely get noticed at various international award arenas. Drive packs a poignant yet intense punch which would linger in your mind till the finale.

My Rating : 8/10

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Deus Ex Human Revolution (2011) : Video Game ~ First Impression

After waiting for almost a year finally I had hands-on experience with Eidos Deus Ex Human Revolution. Since I have lately started to explore the world of Dues Ex this article will just dish up as a preliminary note. The hype surrounding this game can be vindicated with its grand story & state of the art graphics. Human Revolution does not fall in with the typical FPS genre but it’s a blend of role playing with the choice of disposing off threats through lethal & non-lethal techniques.

The story so far…you take the role of Adam Jenson, ex-SWAT functioning as a private security officer for David Sarif who owns a leading company in Detroit which specializes in human augmentations. When Sarif Industries gets attacked by some mysterious radical faction Jenson gets fatally injured & he is forced to endure high-tech cybernetic augmentation to survive. From here onwards the plot begins.

If you have played Mass Effect then you will see the resemblance when it comes to exploration & interaction. The game is entirely played from first person standpoint yet while taking cover behind objects you can fire from third person perspective. There are no separate training missions instead instruction videos turns up time to time helping you to comprehend range of moves & action. Only feature which I found a bit perplexing is the hacking system; I guess it would take some time in mastering. This game provides a fully interactive world & it would take hours to know each & every details. Jenson’s futuristic world may look grim but it’s nevertheless thrilling. You will be stunned to see how much modification can be done to your protagonist’s augmentation. This is the type of game which I would recommend to anyone. There is plenty of room for you to choose between stealth & full frontal attack to cruise through the campaign.

Just go & get the retail copy of Dues Ex Human Revolution; you will not be disappointed.

First Impression Rating : 9/10

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Brothers In Arms : Hell's Highway (2008) : Video Game

Gearbox Software’s Hell’s Highway is the third entry in the Brothers In Arms franchise. Even though I heard a lot about this series I never got the chance to really play it; finally after getting hold of this title I was looking forward to experience it. Unlike other Second World War games Hell’s Highway is very different. The story actually emphasizes the human elements amid all the action. The story follows the men of 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment & their involvement in Operation Market Garden, September1944. Once you start the game you take up the role of Sergeant Matt Baker.

As the story proceeds you get to know a lot about Baker’s personality. In-gaming will also reveal Baker’s psychosomatic side as he tries to cleave to a horrifying secret behind the death of three of his former squad mates. Most of the incidents take place in & around Eindhoven where 101st Airborne Division was given the assignment to secure the city & repel any kind of German counter-offensive.

Just like its predecessor Hell’s Highway accentuate on squad mechanics. From time to time you will get access to command two or three squads like MG Team, Assault & Bazooka Teams. With linear control interface it would not take much time to get used with issuing a range of commands like providing suppressing fire on enemy MG nest or for taking out Panzer IVs. Most of the missions include taking out German Flak 88s or securing town centers. Some sporadic missions will let you complete objectives without any support teams giving the feel of regular FPS games. You will even be given the chance to command one Sherman Firefly Tank although I was disappointed with its maneuver limitation, although it can roll over sand bags or fences but cannot squash through brick walls which is sometimes quite annoying as it takes out the feel of realism. The infantry cover system however is quite imposing; this attribute lets you to take cover behind any objects & fire from third person perspective. Another unique feature introduced is the ‘action kill cam’, whenever you score an enemy head-shot it is always shown in zoomed slow motion giving you a cinematic feel.

Visually Brothers in Arms Hell’s Highway is pretty impressive & can par with any present generation games. It’s the story & the soundtrack which makes this game standout from the rest of the World War games. If you are interested in story aspects then this is the title to get hold of. Experience the brotherhood & witness the mayhem through the eyes of Matt Baker; Welcome to Hell’s Highway.

My Rating : 7.5/10

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Age Of Heroes (2011)

Adrian Vitoria’s Age of Heroes depicts the events which led to the formation of British 30th Commando Unit & its first operation in Norway during the eve of World War II.

Plot : The movie starts with the Battle of Dunkirk where a small surviving unit of British soldiers under the command of Corporal Rains tries to find their way to the ongoing Dunkirk evacuation. However being mistaken as deserter by a high ranking British officer, Rains & his unit gets circulated back to military prison for transgression. At prison he befriends an inmate who reveals to be once the member of the lately formed elite forces. Shortly after escaping the prison Rains gets inducted into the commando training program under the vigilance of Major Jones. After enduring the dehumanizing program Rains & his group gets called for their first assignment. The mission was to parachute into occupied Norway; raid & gather intelligence on a German Radar installation which happened to be far advanced than the allied machinery. Yet things never go according to plan; on landing into the enemy territory Jones' unit find themselves against an unforeseen enemy who seems to jeopardize the entire mission.

Taking into consideration the small budget on which this movie was made, the close combat action sequences were quite realistic & gritty. Sean Bean as Major Jones delivered a persuasive role. Other castings with creditable performance were William Houston as Sgt. Mackenzie & Aksel Hennie as Steiner who is also well known for his performance in the Norwegian war biopic Max Manus. Only thing which was sort of downer was the usual portrayal of German soldiers as viscous killers & although their atrocity on civilians were shown to full extent their infantry tactics were displayed imperfectly thus contradicting the historical fact they were bona fide first-rate fighters. I don’t know much about the authenticity of Operation Grendel shown in this film; still as a war movie this might do just well. With limited funding Vitoria’s movie delivers the story but lacks in intensity which is essential for keeping viewers engrossed. 

My Rating : 6.5/10 

Note : This is my 100th Article; I would like this opportunity to extend my thanks to all my readers.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Guns of Navarone (1961)

Based on the novel of the same name by Alistair MacLean, The Guns of Navarone although fictional, the backdrop emphasizes the Dodecanese Campaign of Second World War. During this operation British forces tried to capture the Italian held Dodecanese islands in the Aegean Sea. However things did not materialize as intended & the allies’ attempt to take over the island failed resulting to German annexation.
Plot : Collapse of the allied forces in the campaign lead to the stranding of thousands of British soldiers on the island of Keros in the Aegean Sea. They faced the risk of total annihilation if not rescued. The presence of German radar-directed coastal guns on the nearby island of Navarone made it impossible for the Royal Navy to attempt any kind of rescue operation. Since the German forces have been planning for an offensive operation on Keros it became imperative to save the isolated soldiers. With time running out the allied high command finally comes up with an idea of destroying the Navarone coastal batteries. With the mission authorization it was decided to pick a group of saboteurs who would sail to Navarone & destroy the guns.

The team handpicked for the assignment included Captain Keith Mallory (Gregory Peck) a legendary mountaineer; Andrea Stavrou (Anthony Quinn) a former colonel in the resistance Greek army who had his own agenda to follow Mallory; Corporal Miller (David Niven) although sometimes annoying with his ill-timed jokes he was nonetheless an explosive specialist; Private Brown (Stanley Baker) the communication engineer whose knife fighting skill earned him the nickname as ‘The Butcher of Barcelona’ for killing many in the Spanish Civil War; Private Spyros Pappadimos (James Darren) a Greek-American who was assigned this mission for being a 'born killer' as once stated by the intelligence officer; finally Major Roy Franklin (Anthony Quayle) who was supposed to spearhead the operation.

Amid all the action the moral complexities offered are in fact very reflective; we find some members who find themselves disillusioned with the killings & sometimes even cynical with credibility of the whole mission. When grave injury compels Roy to put Mallory in charge; disparity with Miller on certain ideologies gets well explored which puts forth some ethical issues. Mallory’s gradual leadership effectively shows how war can bring out the best of men under overwhelming situation. The Guns of Navarone is one of the classics of all time which has materialized with years. Even after five decades the story still holds its essence making it one of the finest war movies of that era.

My Rating : 8/10

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) ~ First Look

Finally we get the chance to get some glimpse of the most anticipated movie of 2012. Even though the teaser trailer embraces some of the footage from the earlier two sequels; the final cut looks epic nonetheless. I wish Nolan’s final chapter in the Batman-saga a gratifying finale.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Company Of Heroes (2007) : Video Game

With the dawn of advanced graphics engine, computer games have evolved to make the experience all the more riveting. Relic Entertainment’s Company of Heroes is one of the best strategy games I have ever played. Set during the pinnacle of Second World War you get the chance to command two United States combat units & fight your way across Europe. With incredible graphics & audio Company of Heroes brings the memoirs of front line back to life. Single player campaign offers only the accessibility of the allied infantry, airborne company & armored cavalry support. You don’t get the chance to play the German faction in the campaign however you have the option to control them while playing in skirmish mode.

In-game campaign follows the story of Able Company under the command of Captain John MacKay & his friend Sergeant Joe Conti. At some point you also get the chance to command Fox Company's airborne division. The story starts with Dwight Eisenhower’s ambition undertaking Operation Overlord where your infantry company storms the Omaha beach in Normandy on D-Day, June 6th 1944. Taking cue from Steven Spielberg’s epic movie Saving Private Ryan, the opening scene shows the viciousness of war. Against all odds you are given the objective to neutralize all the contiguous beach German garrisons & some Flak 88s. Just like the extensive first mission rest of the campaign is also pretty much intense. Some of the missions require direct assault like taking of the French town Carentan while others need good preparation before you can send your troops for full frontal attack. Missions like securing port of Cherbourg or capturing Saint Lo requires exhaustive planning. Company of Heroes can be played in four different difficulty settings; depending on your skill you can start with easy approach & later on leveling up to expert mode.

Even if you are new to RTS (Real Time Strategy) games, the campaign offers fair amount of training which helps you to comprehend a range of infantry ground tactics. Unlike other games like Rome Total War you don’t have to micro manage each & every details; instead the game streamlines some of the provisions helpful for finishing the missions. Each campaign maps have territories distinctively marked as Allied or Axis controlled. In order to progress you need a constant supply of manpower, fuel & munitions. Usually when you start any mission you are provided with a forward HQ ~ headquarters along with a squad of engineers. You require these engineers to setup defenses & other military structures which help in providing advanced combat & support units. While exploring the map you would require in capturing & holding strategic points. These carry resource points which help in contributing to your demand. Remember in order to receive a constant flow of resources; all your territories must be well connected. Holding strategic points while playing this game in difficulty mode is like hell. Enemy A.I. swiftly starts capturing the resource points before annihilating your troops. Loss of Forward HQ sometimes also lead to mission failure as you are cut-off from forward infantry & engineer squads supply. Make sure in keeping the base heavily defended from enemy retaliation.

The mechanics of both the allied & enemy A.I. is very impressive. Infantry squad acts decisively when attacked by MG-42 emplacement. They can be used to outflank the enemy post by either suppressive fire or by popping a grenade. When you deploy anti-tank gun units they act accordingly while facing enemy armor. Of course they are not eternal souls & while facing odds you need to balance your squad with mixed weapons especially when facing Panzer IVs & Tiger I tanks. The game also provides some necessary perks; the Commander Selection System. In campaign mode it provides you the opportunity to choose any one upgrade within allied infantry, airborne or armor company. This helps in necessary reinforcements & special upgrades to change the tides of war in your favor. While in skirmish mode if you are playing from German perspective you get the chance to choose any one of the three available doctrines; namely defensive, blitzkrieg & terror.

Visually Company of Heroes looks spectacular provided you have a killer rig to enjoy its potential. Since in-game feature provides option in panning the camera while zooming in or out the entire units look detailed & realistic. Interactive & destructible maps also provide depth which heightens the experience. Imposing symphonic soundtrack also helps in building the pace. Company of Heroes offers lots of challenge however with proper strategy & patience you can master this game. Relic Entertainment has really revolutionized the RTS genre & set its bar of excellence to new heights.

My Rating : 9/10

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

TROY (2004)

Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. So we ask ourselves…will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we’re gone…& wonder who we were…how bravely we fought…how fiercely we loved? ~ Odysseus

Inspired by Homer’s ‘The Iliad’, TROY depicts the events which lead to the Trojan War. Wolfgang Petersen often known for his war movie masterpiece Das Boot brings us closer to the Greek mythology. Even though visually overwhelming with epic battle scenes, the movie still had some shortcoming.

With a brief preface we learn, after decades of warfare Agamemnon (Brian Cox), King of Mycenae, has forced most of the realms of Greece into a fragile alliance. However being wearied with years of war his brother Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), King of Sparta settles on to make peace with Troy which remained unvanquished. When Trojan Prince Hector (Eric Bana) & his younger brother Paris (Orlando Bloom) visit Sparta to negotiate peace, Paris falls for the Spartan queen Helen (Diane Kruger) & furtively brings her to Troy. Enraged with Paris’ action, Menelaus swears retribution & seeks for Agamemnon’s support to wage war against Troy. Agamemnon had been scheming for years to conquer Troy; taking brother’s pledge as the liable opportunity, he calls for the largest army from entire Greece to fulfill his lust for power.

However Troy’s history of sturdy defense made her impenetrable from attack, thus it required exceptional leaders to breach her defenses. Generals within Agamemnon’s council ask him to bring Achilles (Brad Pitt) & his Myrmidons warriors to unite the troops for the cause. Achilles was considered to be the greatest warrior ever born yet his contempt for Agamemnon’s rule threatened the alliance & the success of the war’s final outcome.

Even though the running length had just about been 162 minutes, there were certain aspects of the story which required more attention. With several crammed subplots, some of the important characters like Odysseus (Sean Bean) & his relation with Achilles left partly explored. In the end it was Odysseus,King of Ithaca who devised the plan for building the Trojan horse; certainly his role required further importance. As per legends, the Trojan War took nearly ten years, yet it covered a fraction in this movie; a liberty I can acknowledge for the sake of filming constraints. Considering Helen as the significant character in this story, her relation with Paris lacked intensity. Whether Hector’s cousin Briseis (Rose Byrne) was accountable for the mounting conflict in-between Agamemnon & Achilles is still debatable. Apparently such authenticity can never be vouched from mythical fables. When it comes to action, the duel between Hector & Achilles was adequately choreographed yet the battle filmed between the unknown Trojan & Greek warriors needed vitality, earlier seen in Scott’s Gladiator.

Even if this movie falls short in contrast to Braveheart & Gladiator still epic lovers will definitely enjoy TROY. To end with, the story might be little flawed yet worth the time.

My Rating : 7/10

Monday, July 4, 2011

Super 8 (2011)

Super 8 have the constituent essential for a family movie to thrive in the arena. Amid all the special effects it’s the story which makes this movie so unique. J.J. Abrams seems to have mastered the Science Fiction genre just like legendary Steven Spielberg. Believe the hype; this movie actually delivers what others pledge in their teaser trailers. After a long time we get to see a movie which is an instant classic & reminds us the good old days of ‘80s.

Plot : In early ’79, we are introduced to Joe Lamb, a teenage boy living in the small town of Ohio. Lately he lost his mother in a factory accident. His father, deputy sheriff Jackson finds it hard to deal with with the tragedy. Some months later Joe decides to assist his close friend Charles in making a small budget zombie movie. They hire Alice; daughter of Louis who is held accountable by Joe’s father for their family misfortune. While taking shot of a scene with their Super 8 mm at a remote train depot in late night Joe & his friends witness a colossal derailment which looked to be premeditated. From then on strange things starts happening in their small town. Joe inquisitiveness forces him to investigate the bizarre incidents which have caused panic within the generic population of the town. His search leads him to a murky revelation. I will go no further as it ruins the momentum. The less you know the more you all will enjoy.

The real assets in this movie are the group of young artistes. Joel Courtney as Joe Lamb & Elle Fanning as Alice embodies the heart & soul of this movie. Abrams competently exhibit Joe’s love for Alice in a tenderly fashion; often missed in movies these days. Riley Griffiths as Charles brought first-rate intensity to his character thus harmonizing his role along with the supporting casts. Kyle Chandler as Jackson Lamb delivers in a creditable style but ensured not to overshadow Joel’s stupendous performance; in the end it’s Joel who turns out to be the unlikely hero. Michael Giacchino’s poignant score also helped in elevating the story.

Super 8 gives the glimpse of the nostalgic memoirs of early ‘80s classic movies. J.J. Abrams puts across a smart, sci-fi thriller which can be treasured by the entire family on any given day.

My Rating : 8.5/10

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Transformers : Dark Of The Moon (2011)

Michael Bay’s final entry in the Transformer franchise offers a mixed experience. Visually Dark Of The Moon is incredible & the 3D transition looked quite imposing though not radical like Avatar, as many claimed. Well, that’s the good part which is undeniably going to electrify the usual crowd; however there were certain aspects which might be of concern for some. The length of the movie was far too stretched with some cliché dialogue from our human characters.

Plot : It is revealed that the entire Apollo Mission of putting man on Moon was a cover-up meticulously planned by United States, to investigate a cybertronian spacecraft which had crash landed in 1961, on the far side of the moon. The craft known as The Ark carried some valued technology which could have changed the tide of war in Autobots favor & save Cybertron. In the present day as the Autobots helped the NEST Team in search & destroying remaining Decepticons on Earth; Optimus Prime (leader of Autobots) learns about the secret of The Ark. As the Autobots race against time to reach Moon & unfold the anonymity of the crashed cybertronian craft, Decepticon’s crippled leader Megatron devices a scheme with a hideous entity which would plunge the humanity into a new nightmare.

Once more we see Shia LaBeouf reprising the role of Sam Witwicky; teenager caught between the conflicts of the extraterrestrial clans. Novice Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Sam’s new girlfriend Carly is surly a stunner but with limited script she had nothing to do other than being rescued from the cybertronian muddle. Other than known faces from its early sequels John Malkovich as Sam’s eccentric boss & Frances McDormand as the new Secretary of Defense builds up the faces of the human resistance before the Decepticons started their onslaught for a full frontal war on the Chicago city. There are some unforeseen twists still at some parts the story seemed in-coherent & some forced comic relief could have been easily avoided. As mentioned earlier the effects are really good which makes it sensible to watch it in 3D; still the second half is bloated with actions & explosions which might be tedious for some.

Among the Decepticons the new attraction definitely here will be Shockwave & its creepy worm-like cybertronian pet. Transformers 3 have some intense action scenes which would gratify the conventional viewers. This movie is comparable to its predecessor, only this time it comes with more bang than you can truly handle. If you have enjoyed its prior sequels then I don’t see a reason for leaving out this one. This will evoke interest among those who are interested in visceral over the top explosions & blondes in haute couture. I can assure you one thing; Transformers 3 fared much better than Revenge Of The Fallen.

My Rating : 6.5/10

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Green Lantern (2011)

In Brightest day, in blackest night no evil shall escape my sight & those who worship evils’ might beware my power green lantern’s light.

I never got the privilege to read Green Lantern so when the news started to circulate about its forthcoming movie I was pretty excited. Let’s get this straight, if you are planning to watch this only for its story then you might find it rather inconclusive. Martin Campbell’s intension to piece together the origin of Hal Jordan as the first human to join the Green Lantern Corps was moderately effective. However with less involving characters & lack of sense of imminent danger quite precedent in super-hero based movies, Green Lantern proves to be a weak entry into DC franchise.
With a brief anecdote, we learn that millions of years ago a race of immortals dispensed the most powerful force of existence, the emerald energy of willpower. These immortals were known as the guardians of the universe who built a world from where they could watch all over existence; the Planet Oa. The ring powered by the energy of will was sent to every region of the universe to select a recruit. In order to be chosen by the ring one must be without fear. These recruits formed the intergalactic mediators known as the Green Lantern Corps. Once Parallax, an entity that fed on the yellow power of fear brought mayhem into the galaxy until it was defeated & incarcerated by one formidable green lantern member, Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison). However after many years when Parallax succeeds in escaping by mortally wounding Abin Sur, a search for his successor begins & for the first time the ring chooses a human, Hal Jordan a brash pilot. From there onwards the story goes on with his transition into a green lantern before he confronts Parallax for the final showdown.

Even though Ryan Reynolds served right as the Green Lantern, Peter Sarsgaard as Dr. Hector Hammond was remarkable; with limited time he tried to forge into a likely antagonist before he was cut short by CGI Parallax. Blake Lively as Carol Ferris & Jordan’s love interest filled the void usual in these kinds of stories. Too many characters & back stories were crammed which finally remained uncharted. Considering the colossal production budget I was hoping to see some real eye candy special effects, however they varied from impressive to sometimes passable. Taking into account Green Lantern’s immeasurable drive there was infinite possibilities of creativity. Yet Jordan’s arsenal & gadgets looked less captivating. Since from end credits it is quite obvious of future sequel, I hope DC Entertainment takes time to emphasize more on characters. The movie might work well with Hal Jordan’s devotees but to generate interest among the broad-spectrum audience would be quite taxing.

My Rating : 5.5/10

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Nolan Effect

Watching Nolan’s movie is a grand de tour in every factual sense. Each of them offers an unique opportunity to study characters with varied psychology under different circumstances. Starting from young man’s fixation of following strangers to a person suffering from short term memory loss or even a heist forged within multiple layer of dreams; there is hardly any resemblance between any of these stories except the fact they all entraps our mind into the alternate world of possibilities.

Following (1998)

Curiosity is perhaps a foreseeable trait in us mortal beings. Nolan’s Following takes a note of this attribute & presents us with an intelligent thriller. Prying develops into a voyeuristic obsession when Bill (Jeremy Theobald), an unemployed young writer starts following strangers across London hoping to get idea on his un-finished novel. Soon he meets Cobb (Alex Haw), a charismatic stranger who turns out to be a thief with unique skill of persuasion. On taking interest in Cobb’s way of work Bill ventures into a sinister world where he falls for a blonde (Lucy Russell), unaware of the impending danger. Even though it was shot in crisp black & white format, the engrossing tale will keep you hooked till the very end. The very style of filming has been non-linear giving us details in parts. Its ending brings the story to a complete & fitting cycle.

Memento (2000)

Following worked as the stepping stone before Nolan filmed Memento in a grand fashion which turned out to be a major success & certainly one of the best mind blenders till date.

Who could ever picture a story so intricate possible on a man suffering from short term memory. Memento starts with a shocking murder based on retribution & back tracks through time to reveal the reason for the shocking finale. Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce), an insurance claim investigator remembered everything till his beloved wife was brutally raped & murdered. On a failed attempt of rescuing he suffers a severe blow from one of the assailant which leads to his condition of short term memory loss. Since then he finds it difficult to create fresh memories. To survive the trauma he devices a new technique of remembering by tattooing vital clues on his body, making notes on paper scraps & taking polaroid snaps of people he meets. In his quest for finding his wife’s killers he gets aid from a mysterious bartender named Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss) who seems to have her own motive & an undercover police officer going with alias Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) whose over affability seemed questionable. As Leonard pieces together the complex jigsaw of manipulation & betrayal you will be shocked with the final outcome. With brilliant write-up from Jonathan Nolan Memento proves to be a startling thriller.

Insomnia (2002)

Although Insomnia being a remake of ’97 Norwegian movie Nolan still achieved to make it a competent psychological thriller. Starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank the movie centers two LAPD detectives, Will Dormer & Hap Eckhart who travels to Alaska for investigating a homicide case of a teenage girl. While trying to lure the suspect into trap, Dormer’s partner dies due to miscalculated judgment. From there on a baffling mind game starts between Dormer & the suspect who seems to know the actual cause of death of Dormer’s partner. The story ensues on how Dormer deals with the blackmailing as well as insomnia due to Alaska’s everlasting daylight system. Insomnia is an admirable character driven thriller with great cinematography by Wally Pfister.

Batman Begins (2005)

No one has ever taken super-hero based movies seriously until Batman Begins. Perhaps batman is the only figure in the DC World whose journey started in the alley of darkness.

A tormented soul with tragic past roving through the Gotham City, putting terror into the hearts of the criminal fraternity. Staying true to the origin of the cape crusader Nolan takes us deep into the world of Bruce Wayne’s fractured life & his reason to fight injustice under the hood of nameless vigilante. Even with limited time each characters like Alfred (Michael Caine), detective Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) got enough space to evolve thus bringing depth into the story. If you are familiar with graphic novel you will find traces of genesis from the novel Batman: Year One. Christian Bale as the cape crusader proved to the rightful choice in Nolan’s version. Armed with great special effects & high tech weaponry; Batman Begins is genuinely gripping & emotional. 

Every great magic consists of three parts or acts.
The first part is called the Pledge, the magician shows you something ordinary, a deck of cards, a bird or a man…he shows you this object…perhaps he asks you to inspect it…to see that it is, indeed, real. Yeah, unaltered, normal. But of course, it probably isn’t.
The second act is called the Turn, the magician takes the ordinary something & makes it do something extraordinary.
Now, you are looking for the secret, but you won’t find it…because, of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really wanna know. You want to be fooled.
But you wouldn’t clap yet… because making something disappear isn’t enough. You have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act. The hardest part; the part we call the Prestige ~ Cutter

The Prestige (2006)

Compared to Nolan’s other work The Prestige is the most under-rated. With brilliant cast this movie offers an electrifying, suspense packed thriller until the very end. The story centers two aspiring magicians whose friendship turns to a deadly rivalry which starts affecting their personal life & that of their families. This is not just simply a movie on illusion; it has so many metamorphic aspects. Nolan has taken various human behavioral aspects like love, obsession, sacrifice & blended them seamlessly within the characters who takes us through the fascinating maze of deception. The study of human relations has never been so beautifully explored. Christian Bale & Hugh Jackman’s brilliant performance made the look & feel of the script so memorable. Movies like these are a kind of rarity & rekindles our interest to visit theaters. Once you watch Prestige you will never forget.

The Dark Knight (2008)

No story of batman is complete without his arch rival Joker. Heath Ledger’s performance as Joker has immortalized one of the best screen play villain in modern times. The Dark Knight portrays the conflict of two unique personalities whose methods are world apart.

Nolan does not waste time in explaining the origins of the cape crusader as the foundation was aptly set in Batman Begins. He introduces us to Harvey Dent, charismatic district attorney whose transition to Two Face is one of the most compelling tragic moments in the history of graphic novels. Though the rise of Harvey Dent & his aftermath has been well explored in the Jeph Loeb’s graphic novel The Long Halloween, Nolan’s interpretation is quite original & refreshing. Aaron Eckhart hammered the role of Harvey Dent/Two Face to perfection. Once again we see Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) reprising the role of the cape crusader in his continuing war on crime & injustice. Teaming with Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) & district attorney Harvey (Aaron Eckhart), they set out to destroy the organized crime of the Gotham once & for all. When everything looked tamed they soon find themselves vulnerable to the new criminal architect the Joker (Heath Ledger) who plunges Gotham into anarchy. Apart from brilliant performance from the supporting cast the musical score set by Hans Zimmer & James Howard is just unforgettable. The Dark Knight truly serves as the Holy Grail to all the batman fans & movie fanatics.

Inception (2010)

In the time of remakes, Christopher Nolan brings forth something so original it’s hard to evade. Inception is a perfect mind buster which requires attention for apt construal. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a specialist in heist business for corporate espionage. However his work involves stealing information by getting inside victim’s dream when their mind is most vulnerable. During one such assignment when the dreamer becomes aware of Cobb’s intension, entire mission gets jeopardized. Impressed by Cobb’s trade he is offered a new assignment for redemption. Instead of stealing he needs to plant an idea in one business tycoon’s mind which would bring repercussion into the real world. As Cobb prepares to do the impossible a dangerous enemy seems to endanger the prospect of success. An enemy only Cobb could have seen coming. How you receive Inception depends entirely on personal level of understanding. Multiple viewings provide something new. The action sequences are amazing accelerated by Zimmer’s pulsating score.

Movies like Inception is one of its kind & such movies gives us assurance for the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Marvel Studios Vs DC Entertainment

2011 does not seem to be a good year for DC Entertainment. Last Year Green Lantern was thought to be the most anticipated movie. Now with the release of X-Men : First Class from Marvel Studios & the forth coming Captain America : The First Avenger seems to overshadow the beginning of Hal Jordan’s venture as the member of Green Lantern Corps. Early reviews are also not in favor of our power ringed hero. Marvel Studios turns to be the relentless winner in this year’s competition for box-office primacy. Next year with the release of The Avengers, The Amazing Spiderman & Ghost Rider : Spirit of Vengeance they have a lot to prove against Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Trailers definitely look catchy. Take a look. 


Saturday, June 18, 2011

X-Men : First Class (2011)

Mutants, since the discovery of their existence they have been regarded with fear, suspicion often hatred. Across the planet the debate rages, are mutants the next link in the evolutionary chain or simply a new species of humanity fighting for their share of world. Either way it is a historical fact, sharing the world has never been humanity’s defining attribute. ~ Prof. Charles Xavier

One thing which makes the characters of X-Men so appealing is the fact they are all about ‘Mutants’. For those not familiar with the terminology, in graphical world of super-heroes Mutants were humans with genetic traits who possessed the ability to nurture inherent super human abilities. Watching these characters on big screen was not far fetched. The only challenge the studio could have possibly faced while filming was on providing equal importance to all the multi-dimensional characters. However Bryan Singer’s directional debut X-Men in 2000 cleared all those suspended speculation. With laudable effects & likeable story, Marvel Studios set forth a successful franchise which was soon to release successive sequels for the years to come.

In 2003, Singer rejuvenated X-2 by introducing new mutants, focusing more on Logan’s life thus expanding the franchise. Hugh Jackman re-furnished his role as Logan a.k.a Wolverine. X-2 proved to be a sequel worthy of its name. The failures of last two installments were evident with the absence of Singer.

Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men : First Class is perhaps the best film in the entire series. With solid script & outstanding performance from James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender & Kevin Bacon, First Class succeeds in elevating the franchise once more.

As the name suggests, the story focuses on the early days of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) & Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) before they became Professor X & Magneto. Origin on the brotherhood of the mutant fraternity was adequately emphasized. Taking cue of the Cold War & Cuban Missile Crisis back in ‘60s Matthew cleverly aligned the story of mutant’s origin.

The story begins at a German concentration camp in occupied Poland during the prime days of Second World War. For the first time we are shown the magnetic power of Erik when he is forced to separate from his parents. On witnessing the phenomenon Erik soon gets exploited by vicious Nazi scientist Dr. Schmidt (Kevin Bacon) who kills his mother only to prove the influence of rage as the key to unlock Erik’s power. As brutality waged across Europe, on the other side of the globe we meet young Charles who possessed incomparable telepathic power. When the war in Europe approaches its closure we soon see the rise in strain between United States & Soviet Union thus marking the era of Cold War. Taking advantage of the political flux Schmidt masked now as Sebastian Shaw creates a Hellfire club with the aid of some concurring mutants furtively scheming on taking over the world. When Shaw becomes an inevitable threat & brings the world to the brink of another nuclear confrontation, it befalls on Charles, Erik & their team of young mutants as the only hope of humanity to prevail peace. However Erik seems to have his own vendetta.

Couple of new mutants has been introduced & they are really captivating. Some of them are capable of shape-shifting while some can discharge energy with a blast. My personal favorite had been Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), mutant talented in creating colossal ultrasonic waves. Only baddie who really looked effective other than Shaw himself was Azazel (Jason Flemyng) who had the ability to teleport at any given moment. X-Men boasts some awe stirring special effects which of course did not sub-due the plot. This is definitely the best super-hero movie from Marvel Studios this year.
My Rating : 8/10