Posts Tagged ‘2009’

Director: P.J.Hogan

Cast: Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Kyrsten Ritter

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Rebecca Bloomwood (Fisher) is a clumsy girl who funds her designer wardrobe with her credit cards and dreams of writing for the ‘Alette’, a Vogue-like glamorous magazine. But the only job Becky can fake her way into is at a financial magazine called ‘Successful Saving’. So successful are her jargon-free columns that she lands a TV spot and the love of her charmingly rich, but hard working boss Luke Brandon (Dancy). Based on Sophie Kinsella’s best selling novels, Confessions of a Shopaholic is designed to appeal to people who simply were born to shop and enjoy spending money without considering those disastrous consequences.

Isla Fisher is luminescent. She is incapable of making a bad movie good but she makes it entertaining to watch anyway. Dancy does his level best in a thankless role. Ritter gives a decent performance as Rebecca’s roommate. The film’s supporting performances are mostly a mixed bag, partially owing to the cast and partially owing to not being given much to do.

This brainless chick flick reinforces the worst stereotypes. Trying to disguise itself as a cautionary tale on the perils of conspicuous consumption, it fixates so much on materialistic cravings that it ends up doing just the opposite. The problem is that filmmaker P.J. Hogan (My Best Friend’s Wedding) spends so much time glorifying everything Gucci and Prada that by the time the film gets down to moralizing it feels misguided and vacant. It has moments of fizz and fun as it seesaws to the inevitable happy ending, but it is no more than a laugh-free time waster.

Directors: Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen

Cast: Bruce Dickinson, Janick Gers, Steve Harris, Nicko McBrian, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith

Iron Maiden has been one of the most successful and influential bands on the heavy metal scene over the years and are still going strong more than thirty years later.

Like all good ‘rockumentaries’, Flight 666 is one for both the band’s fans and music lovers in general. Directed by Sam Dunn and Scot McFayden (Global Metal), this film is an access-all-areas look at Iron Maiden during an ambitious world tour. Last year the band embarked on their largest tour yet labeled the ‘Somewhere Back In Time’. Equipped with their own customised plane called ‘Ed Force One’ which contained their entire stage show and tour equipment, full touring crew and piloted by Bruce Dickinson (lead singer), the band flew across the globe in forty-five days, playing in thirteen countries to over half a million fans in only the first leg of their tour.

The tour kicked off in Mumbai. And if you were at that concert and you watch this film, you are sure to get goosebumps! And with each venue they jump, the number of fans only gets bigger. Another interesting aspect this film captures is the craziness of Iron Maiden fans and the lengths they would go to just to make it to a show (wait till the band visit South America!). The film shows you just how inspirational and influential the band has been in so many people’s lives around the world. The most interesting part of the film comes when somewhere in South America you see an interview of a priest who has 162 Iron Maiden tattoos on his body and is known as ‘Father Iron Maiden’ within his flock!

The concert footage in this film is some of the best out there and the songs will keep your feet tapping over the entire length of the film. Up The Irons!

Director: Ron Howard

Cast: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, and Ayelet Zurer

After a rather tasteless adaptation of Dan Brown’s bestseller, The Da Vinci Code, director Ron Howard reunites with Tom Hanks for more international intrigue. This time around with a lot more action and less boredom. Some bizarre plot points aside, Angels & Demons is a decent thrilling ride through the breathtaking Rome.

The movie begins with the death of the Pope and the gathering of the College of Cardinals to select the next Pontiff. However, before this happens, four of the most revered Cardinals are kidnapped and message left in their place. This leads the Church to turn to Langdon, a man with the knowledge of symbology that could help them track down those responsible. It turns out to be the return of the Illuminati, a scientific sect following Galileo that were hunted and killed by the Catholic Church. The Illuminati says that a cardinal will die every hour, and then at midnight Vatican City will be destroyed from an explosion from ‘antimatter’ stolen from CERN, a Swiss scientific facility. With the help of camerlengo Patrick McKenna (McGregor), acting church leader until there’s a new Pope, and particle physicist Vittoria Vetra (Zurer), Langdon must race against time to save the Catholic Church.

With a cast of award winning actors, Ron Howard does a good job of directing a story that was easier to follow than The Da Vinci Code. Though not quite as expressionless as his first attempt as Robert Langdon, the considerable talents of Tom Hanks largely go to waste once again in this film, as his role is not fleshed out. Zurer’s character does little more than follow Hanks around from scene to scene and translate Latin and Italian for him. Ewan McGregor delivers a convincing performance as the quiet but knowledgeable Camerlengo.

Very talkative in the first half, the film picks up as we get into the latter stages. The plot thickens as our hero deduces the clues that no one else can see. The funny scene where Vittoria tears a page out of Galileo’s book in the Vatican Archives will make you yelp. Even notable is when after a description of Pius IX’s “Great Castration” of Vatican City male statues; Langdon is asked if he is anti-Catholic. Slyly, he retorts, “No. I’m anti-vandalism.”

Overall, Angels & Demons is an entertainer. The interesting blend of facts and fiction makes the plot engaging. While the direction may not stand out, the cinematography is extraordinary as we travel through the picture perfect Vatican and Rome. A piece of advice: Go without expectations and you will be thoroughly entertained.

Director: David Yates

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Gambon, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Jim Broadbent, Tom Felton and Alan Rickman

Following the success of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix director David Yates returns at the helm, directing the sixth installment of the series. The mix of comedy, romance, drama, and adventure into one, makes it marvelous and great fun to watch. It might just be the best Harry Potter film yet.

The film kicks off with a dizzying sequence where the Death Eaters attack central London resulting in the crashing of the Millennium Bridge into Thames. Then on, the main plot focus is Dumbledore (Gambon) luring former potions professor Horace Slughorn (Broadbent) back to Hogwarts so Harry (Radcliffe) can dislodge a key clue regarding the Dark Lord from the professor’s resistant mind. Slughorn taught Tom Riddle, who transformed into Lord Voldemort, and only he knows critical information crucial to unlocking the Dark Lord’s defenses. Meanwhile Draco Malfoy (Felton) is experimenting with a Vanishing Cabinet in Hogwarts’ attic while Professor Severus Snape (Rickman) makes an unbreakable vow.

Once back at Hogwarts in the sixth year, Harry finds a book on potions that has copious handwritten notes by ‘The Half Blood Prince’, which he uses. Harry’s newfound ‘skill’ at potion making draws the attention of professor Slughorn. There’s also a subplot where Harry along with his pals for eternity, Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Watson), are in battle with a powerful force – teenage hormones.

The acting in this film than in the earlier ones is better in quality because of the maturity of all the actors in the film. Grint shows a keen sense of comic timing as Ron. Especially the scene where he consumes the love potion is hilarious. She looks wiser Beautiful Watson engagingly deepens her version of Hermione. But best of all is Radcliffe playing Harry as he delivers the best performance so far playing this character. Gambon does solid work in the vital role of Dumbledore, as he injects humanity to the character. The pick of the acting is Broadbent’s performance as it holds the film together beautifully.

David Yates does a stylish and ingenious job with the direction as several scenes stand out in this film. Watch out for the scene when Dumbledore and Harry travel together into the caves in search of a secret. The CGI work is stellar and the sequence looks magnificent visually. The cinematography sets the tone for the whole movie right from the start, and turns the series in an even darker direction.

Die-hard fans of the books will surely complain about some deletions, especially the showdown of the good and evil in the climax, which has been cut down from a major portion in the novel to only a few minutes worth of screen time. But you will realise that this is a difficult book to adapt as it is setting up a platform for the action packed final chapter of the series which will be made into two films.

This film combines a lot of genres and makes the film feel more real and more magnificent than the others. And when it ends, you just can’t wait for the next two to release.

Director: Michael Mann

Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, and Billy Crudup

“We’re havin’ too good a time today, we ain’t thinking about tomorrow”. This line and the film that follows, places John Dillinger firmly within context and gives you a better idea of who this man was, what he was up against and why he became an icon during the Great Depression.

Set in 1933 against the backdrop of the Great Depression Public Enemies follows the legendary crook John Dillinger (Depp), a man who stole millions from banks and eluded capture in the process. This film largely chronicles the attempts to bring Dillinger to justice by a newly formed FBI whilst also throws light on the gangster’s romance with Billie Frechette (Cotillard). J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI (Crudup) quickly mobilizes to address the Dillinger’s mayhem at large in the country’s heartland. He appoints morally sound Melvin Purvis (Bale) to run his Chicago office. Purvis and his crew inexorably put the screws on, just as the city’s organized crime syndicate becomes annoyed by the FBI scrutiny aroused by Dillinger and other reckless gangsters.

Director Michael Mann (Heat, Miami Vice) does not waste any time warming up as he throws you right into the action from the very beginning of the film. The depiction of 1930’s America is near perfect in this film. The shaky camera work might make some audiences dizzy but works perfectly for the story as it puts you right in the middle of the chase sequences and shootout scenes. The best example of this is the shootout scene at the house where Dillinger is holed up.

Depp controls the screen pretty much throughout the film and delivers a cold and intense performance. He portrays Dillinger’s two key characteristics; charm and menace with panache. Look out for the scene where Dillinger enters the police station fearlessly and goes into the ‘Dillinger Investigations’ department going unnoticed by cops. Bale on the other hand is too stiff throughout the movie barring the climax, which makes his performance average. But both of them put together as adversaries works great for the film.

One problem that Public Enemies suffers from is the lack of character depth in many of the characters. At times, it seems as if you are expected to know and understand the characters before watching the film because it is a real life story. But apart from these minor glitches, Public Enemies makes a great watch packed with some good performances and action sequences.

Director: McG

Cast: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington and Anton Yelchin

Terminator Salvation is an all out action flick lacking soul due to its brittle storyline. But it will not satisfy the die-hard franchise fans looking for a worthy sequel to the first two films after the mishap that was Terminator 3. This installment of Terminator is all style and no substance.

The story opens in 2003 with death-row inmate, Marcus Wright (Worthington), agreeing to surrender his body to Cyberdyne systems for experimentation after execution. In 2018, the war between the small patches of human survivors and the machine army wages on. John Connor (Bale) is now the spiritual leader of the Resistance.  Following a botched mission Connor loses his entire unit and somehow activates Marcus. Later, Kyle Reese (Yelchin), the soon-to-be time traveling father of John Connor and some young man who inadvertently saves Marcus from an attack is abducted and taken to Skynet headquarters with thousands of other human slaves. Connor knows that he must rescue Reese. But as one would expect, not everyone and everything is, as it seems.

As a summer blockbuster, Terminator Salvation is striking. Director McG does a good job of keeping the action tight and breathtaking. There are several excellent action sequences in this film, and all of them are handled with panache. Probably the best thing about the film is the use of the variety of Terminators ranging from T-600s to T-800s.

But the big problem the film faces is that it lacks focus. The movie moves into a new area of storytelling in this universe created by James Cameron, and looks confused with the story it really wants to tell. The script is the real culprit here. Agreed, there are some mind blowing CGI action sequences in this film, which make it an out and out action blockbuster. But without a core storyline, everything falls flat.

Christian Bale is the biggest downer in this film. His role is not fleshed out enough to portray him as the messiah of the Resistance that he is supposed to be. He is just seen irritatingly shouting in the microphone transmitter throughout the film. On the plus side Sam Worthington does a wonderful job as Marcus Wright trying to find salvation and redeem himself.

The film does not resolve any issues brought up by the storyline, clearly keeping it’s options open for a sequel. But at the end of it all, you will realise that perhaps it is better if the franchise is terminated. Watch it for the action sequences.

Director: Michael Bay

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a painstakingly long, over-the-top, noisy, and brainless sequel to the 2007 blockbuster Transformers. In his second outing on this franchise, Michael Bay (Armageddon) makes a film which is devoid of a story and inetersting plot developments.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen picks up two years after the first film. Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) is out of high school and heading off to college. After Optimus Prime destroyed the ‘All Spark’ in the previous movie, the Decepticons have to find the source of energy that will keep their race alive. The information about the location of the vital piece of this energy source is in Sam’s head, and Decepticons would have to kidnap him to get this information. Now Megatron and Starscream are coming back to Earth with force for another epic battle with humans, who forged an alliance with Optimus Prime and his team of Autobots. Now, it is in Sam and Optimus’s hands to save the planet. Miakela (Fox) and Agent Simmons (Turturro) join the Autobots and the US Marines in  the battle against the Decepticons.

LaBeouf delivers an average performance reprising his role as Sam. And it looks like Fox was casted in this film only as eye candy as there is not even an iota of acting portrayed by her. Even the robots look more expressive than her in the film. Turturro comes as a relief delivering a good performance as the obsessed Agent Simmons.

Bay has gone too far and is over indulgent this time around. Throughout the film, you will not question his ability to give you some top notch CGI action and gut wrenching explosions. But only that, does not give you a comprehensive movie. This film fails to deliver in an engaging manner, which makes it a failure. Yet, you will be blown by the CGI action, which makes it watchable, once.